AZA News Releases

Dan Ashe's letter to Secretary Haaland Urging an Emergency Listing of Wolves Under the Endangered Species Act

Dear Secretary Haaland:

We are directors of modern aquariums and zoos, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. We are conservation organizations, and we, like you and your employees, work to save animals from extinction. We are proud of our government partnerships and our coordinated efforts to save such iconic species like the California condor, the Florida manatee and panther, as well as lesser-known species among the animal world like the hellbender and American burying beetle. We are educators, teaching hundreds of millions of zoo and aquarium guests about animals and the importance of respect and empathy for them. And lastly, we are animal welfare experts, working hard every day to ensure that animals in our care are thriving and leading healthy, secure, and meaningful lives.

These roles of modern aquariums and zoos drive us to not sanction or turn away when we see animals suffering. That’s why we work with your employees to rescue and recover endangered and threatened animals, like polar and grizzly bears, sea turtles and even spiders and reptiles. Because each one matters.

Our inability to turn away is why we are writing to you today.

A wildfire of animal cruelty has ignited in the Idaho and Montana legislatures. In a fervor to reduce wolf populations by as much as 90 percent, they have directed professional wildlife managers in their states to authorize methods of take designed to devastate wolf populations:  baiting; electronic calling; night vision equipment; unlimited weaponry; use of vehicles; snaring; unrestricted limits; and compensation for expenses — what used to be called "bounties."

This effort is not wildlife management. It is not hunting. It is pure, unbridled cruelty. And it is threatening one of our nation’s greatest conservation success stories.

You can stop it. You can protect these intelligent, resourceful, and family-bonded animals with an emergency listing, which the Endangered Species Act allows "at the discretion of the Secretary" when a species faces "a significant risk to their well-being." This action will put in place a 240-day “cease-fire” and provide time for you and your agencies to convene professionals and scientists, states and tribes, and have an inclusive and equitable dialogue.

Please, act now!


Dan Ashe, Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Read Dan Ashe's Opinion piece in the Washington Post.

Doug Piekarz, Akron Zoo
Jared P. Taglialatela, Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative
Peter Kareiva, Aquarium of the Pacific
Craig Ivanyi, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Chris Pfefferkorn, Birmingham Zoo
Keith Winsten, Brevard Zoo
Norah B. Fletchall, Buffalo Zoo
Patrick Tennyson, Butterfly Pavilion
Keith Lovett, Buttonwood Park Zoo
Crislyn McKerron, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Darde Long, Chattanooga Zoo
Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Tom Schmid, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Sue Wahlgren, Cosley Zoo
Daryl Richardson, Dallas World Aquarium
Hayley Murphy, Detroit Zoological Society (Detroit Zoo)
Mike Crocker, Dickerson Park Zoo
Rick LoBello, El Paso Zoo
Mark Cross, Endangered Wolf Center
Rick Schuiteman, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Jon Forrest Dohlin, Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Patrick M. Burchfield, Gladys Porter Zoo
Linda Santos, Honolulu Zoo
Lee Ehmke, Houston Zoo
Robert Shumaker, Indianapolis Zoo
Cynthia Claus, Jenkinson's Aquarium
Randy Wisthoff, Kansas City Zoo
Amanda Shurr, Lehigh Valley Zoo
John Chapo, Lincoln Children's Zoo
Kevin Bell, Lincoln Park Zoo
Megan Ross, Lincoln Park Zoo
Denise M. Verret, Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Dan Maloney, Louisville Zoo
John Walczak, Louisville Zoo
Jay Tetzloff, Miller Park Zoo
Steve Coan, Mystic Aquarium
Jack Mulvena, Naples Zoo
Kurt Strand, National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Carrie Heinonen, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
Neil S. Anderson, Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo
Alan Varsik, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
Nik Dehejia, Oakland Zoo
Greg Charbeneau, OdySea Aquarium
Dwight Lawson, Oklahoma City Zoo
Heidi Rahn, Oregon Zoo
Yvonne Strode, Peoria Zoo
Norberto J. (Bert) Castro, Phoenix Zoo
Alan Varsik, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Abbie Krause, Pueblo Zoo
Beth Heidorn, Racine Zoo
Sally Jacobson, Red River Zoo
Ryan VanZant, Rolling Hills Zoo
Phillip A. Ginter, Ross Park Zoo
Jeffrey P. Bonner, Saint Louis Zoo
Dr. Nadine Lamberski, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Tanya M. Peterson, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
Rich Block, Santa Barbara Zoo
Ken Frye, Scovill Zoo
Ken Mitchell, Staten Island Zoo
Scott Shoemaker, Sunset Zoological Park
Gary Siddall, The Aquarium of Niagara
Dr. Michael Adkesson, The Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo
Alan Tousignant, The Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School
Tom Schmid, The Wilds
Tim Brown, Tracy Aviary & Botanical Garden
Andria Heath, Utica Zoo
W. Mark Swingle, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
James J. Breheny, WCS Zoos and Aquarium
Alejandro Grajal, Woodland Park Zoo
Jeff Ewelt, ZooMontana
Gene Peacock, Zoo Boise
Lisa New, Zoo Knoxville
John Linehan, Zoo New England – Franklin Park Zoo & Stone Zoo

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.