AZA News Releases

AZA Selects 15 Projects to Receive Conservation Grant Funding

Grants totaling nearly $280K will support research and conservation initiatives around the world

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has awarded Conservation Grants Fund (CGF) grants totaling $278,901 to 15 research and conservation projects led by AZA members.

Established in 1984, the AZA Conservation Grants Fund is a competitive grants program that supports the cooperative conservation-related scientific and educational initiatives of AZA members and their partners. Major areas of funding for conservation and animal care are represented, including research, field conservation, education and outreach, animal welfare, animal health and animal management. Many Conservation Grants Fund projects are collaborations among AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and state, federal and international wildlife agencies, academia and other conservation organizations.

“The Conservation Grants Fund provides direct support to AZA members who are working to achieve AZA’s mission of protecting wildlife and wild places,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “The grants support critical research, conservation, and education projects that benefit endangered and vulnerable species around the world.”

Since 1991, the CGF has provided nearly $8 million to over 430 projects worldwide. These funds are raised through private and corporate contributions, including long-time support from the Disney Conservation Fund. 

After a competitive review of 74 applications, 15 projects were chosen to be funded for 2019. This year’s awards span the globe, include an array of taxonomic groups, and will be implemented by staff at AZA member facilities of all sizes, as well as by individual AZA members working at non-profit organizations and universities. Six of the proposals benefit species supported by AZA’s Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) ® program. Publications resulting from grant recipient projects are available on AZA’s website.

AZA congratulates the 2019 Conservation Grants Fund recipients:

Action Indonesia Global Species Management Plan: Monitoring Endangered Banteng in East Java
Steve Metzler, San Diego Zoo Safari Park/San Diego Zoo Global

An Investigation into Contaminants and Industrial Disturbance to Migrating Whooping Cranes
Barry Hartup, DVM, International Crane Foundation

Assessing Long-Term Stress in Great Apes: Allostatic Load in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Bonobos (Pan paniscus)
Ashley Edes, PhD, Janine Brown, PhD, and Katie Edwards, PhD, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Characterization of Sand Tiger Shark Enclosure Use and Behavior to Understand Wellbeing and Reproduction
Lara Metrione, PhD and Nancy Ho, South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction & Conservation (SEZARC)
Carol Price, PhD, North Carolina Aquariums

Developing a Reintroduction Strategy for Madagascar's Critically Endangered Radiated Tortoise
Michael Ogle, Zoo Knoxville
Rick Hudson, Turtle Survival Alliance
Josh Lucas, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

Documenting Dietary Variation in Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas with the Goal of Informing Park Expansion Strategy
Tara Stoinski, PhD, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The Future of Community-led Conservation:  Eliciting Empathy and Connection with Nature to Protect Black Rhinos in Namibia
Emily Kalnicky, PhD and Jeff Muntifering, PhD, Minnesota Zoological Gardens

Environmental Correlates of Survival and Extinction for the Critically Endangered Blue-crowned Laughingthrush
Rosa Gleave, Royal Holloway, University of London & Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
Mark Myers, Woodland Park Zoo

Investigation of Possible Genetic and Environmental Factors Leading to Uterine Disease in African Painted Dogs
Dalen Agnew, DVM, PhD, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Monica McDonald, PhD, Saint Louis Zoo, Reproductive Management Center

Kea Conservation Trust’s Fiordland Wilderness Kea Monitoring Project
Tamsin Orr-Walker, Kea Conservation Trust
Kimberly Klosterman, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Linking In-situ and Ex-situ Populations of Threatened Amphibians Phase II: Using the Puerto-Rican Crested Toad and Chiricahua leopard Frog as a Model
Andy Kouba, PhD and Carrie Vance, PhD, Mississippi State University
Diane Barber, Fort Worth Zoo

Monitoring, Breeding and Reestablishing the Critically Endangered ‘Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) through Spatial and Social Networks
Alison Greggor, PhD, Ronald Swaisgood, PhD, Bryce Masuda, San Diego Zoo Global

Project PRAIRIE - Prairies that Invigorate Inquiry Learning
Mitchell Magdich and Alexandra Burris, PhD, Toledo Zoo

Rangelands Restoration for Hirola, the World's Most Endangered Antelope, Kenya
Abdullah Hussein Ali, PhD, Hirola Conservation Programme

Vanishing Vultures: Preventing Vulture Extinctions and Consequent Disease Increases in the Horn of Africa
Evan Buechley, PhD, HawkWatch International
Peter Marra, PhD, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Anyone may support next year’s conservation projects by donating online at

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eleven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

Posted by Ashley Jones at 08:00
I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.