AZA News Releases

AZA Announces Conservation Endowment Fund Grants

Silver Spring, MD – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF) has awarded $170,000 to nine wildlife conservation initiatives.

“From coral to frogs to elephants, AZA-accredited institutions and their partners are at the forefront of wildlife conservation here in North America and around the world,” said AZA President and CEO, Jim Maddy. “The scientific contribution of those receiving Conservation Endowment Fund awards is vital to the wildlife conservation movement.”

The AZA CEF supports the cooperative conservation-related scientific and educational initiatives of AZA members and their partners. Every major type of conservation and animal care initiative is represented — research, field conservation, education and outreach, animal welfare, animal health and animal management. Many CEF projects are collaborations among AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and state, federal and international wildlife agencies, academia and other conservation organizations.

Since 1991, AZA’s CEF has supported more than 290 projects worldwide with nearly $5 million in funding. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) and The Walt Disney Company have provided supplemental funds to the CEF for over a decade, which significantly increases the number of projects funded by the CEF each year.

After a competitive review of over 80 applications, nine projects were funded for 2009. These include:

Effects of Disease Treatments on Captive Coral Health

Ilze Berzins, John G. Shedd Aquarium/The Florida Aquarium 

Quantifying and Validating Animal Care Takers’ Insights as a Tool for Continuous Monitoring of Zoo Animal Welfare

Nadja Wielebnowski, Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo

Jessica Whitham, Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo         

Translocation as a Tool to Reintroduce and Supplement Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) Populations on Restored Conservation Lands 

Michelle Smurl, Brevard Zoo     

In-situ and Ex-situ Conservation of the Critically Endangered Acroporids through Public Aquaria and Coral Reef Scientists

Mike Brittsan, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Mark Schick, John G. Shedd Aquarium

Kathy Vires, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo 

Daily Travel Distance of African elephants (Loxodonata africana) in Botswana 

Matt Anderson, San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research

For the past two years, AZA’s CEF has been utilized to address global amphibian declines. This year almost half of the awards will focus on aspects of this important conservation issue. These projects include:

Establishing a Captive Breeding Facility for Malagasy Amphibians

Jennifer Pramuk, Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society 

Genetic Analyses of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus and the Global Extinction Crisis

William Modi, Zoological Society of San Diego

Erica Rosenblum, University of Idaho 

Reintroduction of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog

Ron Swaisgood, Zoological Society of San Diego

Jeff Lemm, Zoological Society of San Diego 

A Citizen Science Training Model for Investigating the Presence or Absence of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in Amphibian Populations

Penny Danielewicz, Buffalo Zoo

Tiffany Vanderwerf, Buffalo Zoo

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