AZA News Releases

Zoos and Aquariums Fund Critical Wildlife Conservation and Research Projects Through CEF

Silver Spring, MD - The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF) grants totaling $373,075 to be awarded to 18 projects.

“Supported by AZA’s Conservation Endowment Fund, scientists at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are global leaders in wildlife science and the conservation of threatened and endangered species,” said AZA Senior Vice President for Conservation and Education, Dr. Paul Boyle. “By advancing our understanding of wildlife biology, reproduction, behavior, welfare, and many other topics, zoo and aquarium scientists are protecting the future of mankind’s wildlife heritage.”

Established in 1984, the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund is a competitive grants program that 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 Conservation Endowment Fund projects are collaborations among AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and state, federal and international wildlife agencies, academia and other conservation organizations.

Between 1991 and 2012, the CEF has provided more than $5.7 million to 320 projects worldwide. These funds are raised through private and corporate contributions,including the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) which provided more than half of the awarded funds this year.

Anyone may support next year’s worthy conservation projects by donating online at or by texting “AZACEF” to 20222 to donate $10 to Conservation Endowment Fund. 

After a competitive review of 56 applications, 18 projects were chosen to be funded for 2013. AZA congratulates the 2013 Conservation Endowment Fund recipients (the source of funds is noted after the project title): 

A Low-cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Imaging System for Large Whale Health Assessment (DWCF)

Rachel Cassoff, Duke University Marine Lab 

Assessing Migration of the Endangered Arapaima in the Waters of Guyana, South America Implications for Conservation (DWCF)

Leslie DeSouza and Charles Knapp, PhD, John G. Shedd Aquarium 

Bone Density of the Bottlenose Dolphin: A Model for Detecting Effects of Anthropogenic Contaminant Exposure (DWCF) 

Deborah Duffield, PhD, Portland State University 

BOTSWANA WILD: Children for Conservation (DWCF) Molly Swanepoel, Denver Zoological Foundation 

Lauren McCain, PhD, SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund 

Building Public Support for the Conservation of the Bornean Sun Bear (CEF) 

James Danoff-Burg, PhD and Corrin LaCombe, San Diego Zoo Global 

Captive Management,Stress, and Reproduction in the Guam Micronesian Kingfisher (DWCF) 

Dylan Kesler, PhD, Trista Strauch, PhD, and Andrew Alba,University of Missouri 

Conserving a Vital Bornean Orangutan Population through Community Conservation and Environmental Education (CEF) 

Cheryl Knott, PhD, Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program 

Evaluating the Importance of Native Prey Species to the Diet of Andean Condors in the High Andes of Northwestern Argentina (DWCF)

Jonathan Pauli, PhD, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Madison 

Human Health Benefits Associated with Visiting Zoological Institutions (DWCF)

Sharon Deem, DVM, PhD and Louise Bradshaw, Saint Louis Zoo 

Managing Human-Elephant Conflict in Burma (Myanmar) (DWCF)

Peter Leimgruber, PhD and Melissa Songer, PhD, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park 

Rays of Hope:Identifying Factors Mediating the Survival of Panamanian Golden Frogs (DWCF)

Corinne Richards-Zawacki, PhD, Tulane University, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology 

Reintroduction and Monitoring of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana muscosa) in Southern California (DWCF/CEF) 

Frank Santana, Ron Swaisgood, PhD, and Jeffrey Lemm, San Diego Zoo Global 

Reintroduction of Siamese Crocodiles to the Wild, Phase 2 (CEF) 

Sarah Brook, Fauna & Flora International Smooth Green Snake Recovery and Conservation Assessment in Illinois (CEF)

Allison Sacerdote-Valet, PhD, Diane Mulkerin, and Dan Boehm,Lincoln Park Zoo 

Sun Bears within a Fragmented Landscape: How Does this Tropical Ursid Survive in Such a Habitat?(DWCF)

Benoit Goossens, PhD, Danau Girang Field Centre 

Peter Riger, Houston Zoo

Testing the Effectiveness of Headstarting as Part of a Conservation Toolbox to Restore the Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frogs (Ranasierrae) to the Lake Tahoe Basin (DWCF) 

Jessie Bushell and Adrian Mutlow, VetMB, MRCVS, San Francisco Zoo 

The Role of Outdoor Enclosures in Advancing Captive Husbandry and Reproduction in Snakes Sensitive to Cyclic Environmental Conditions (DWCF)

Fred Antonio, The Orianne Society 

Using Solar Power toProtect the Endangered North African Ostrich (CEF)

Peter Black, DVM, Busch Gardens 

Warren Lynch, Smithsonian National Zoological Park

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is anonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, agreat experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more visit  

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