SAFE Stories

Image of the logo SAFE Saving Animals From ExtinctionThe Association of Zoos & Aquariums, with its member aquariums and zoos and a variety of partners, are taking action to save species through AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction. SAFE combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA members and partners, all focused on saving species. Our collective action will help save vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protect them for future generations.

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Oregon Zoo awarded for helping to save Western pond turtle

KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon, reports: The Oregon Zoo just got an award for working to save an endangered species. The zoo has been working with Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to save the Western pond turtle. Read more...

Posted by Rob Vernon at Friday, September 23, 2016

Western Pond Turtles get a head start

On August 12, 2016, Woodland Park Zoo staff and ZooCorps teens joined biologists and representatives from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at a protected recovery site to release 47 juvenile western pond turtles. The 47 turtles were collected from the wild as eggs and given a head start on life under the care of Woodland Park Zoo to improve their chance of survival in the wild. Once the turtles reach about 2 ounces—a suitable size to escape the mouths of invasive predatory bullfrogs—they are returned to the wild each summer and monitored by biologists.

In 1991, the project was established to help recover this endangered species, including initiating a head starting program. In 25 years, the “turtle team” has released >2,100 turtles—boosting the wild population from 150 turtles at two sites to >1,000 turtles at six sites. Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo have together invested more than $1 million in this long-term field conservation program.

For this upcoming head start season, 85 eggs were collected and delivered to Woodland Park Zoo, 72 of which are most likely fertile. To date, 55+ have hatched.

Enjoy this feature by Evening Magazine, a program that airs nightly Monday-Friday on Seattle’s top news station, KING 5.

And enjoy Woodland Park Zoo’s new video: https://youtu.be/AjCU0oXChG8

Posted by Rob Vernon at Friday, September 9, 2016

Whooping Crane Reintroduction Effort Shifts Direction

Wisconsin Public Radio reports: There's been a major change in Wisconsin's years-long experiment to help whooping cranes. Humans wearing crane costumes are no longer teaching young birds to fly behind ultra-light aircraft. Instead, crane chicks are mostly being raised by adult cranes, in hopes that years from now, the birds become better at reproducing in the wild. Read more ...

Posted by Rob Vernon at Friday, September 9, 2016

15th International Elephant & Rhino Conservation and Research Symposium

The fourth joint International Elephant and Rhino Conservation and Research Symposium is a forum for elephant and rhino conservationists and researchers from around the world to present conservation projects and research outcomes, new technologies in field conservation and conflict mitigation, studies in disease, reproduction and behavior, and other issues that impact the long term survival of elephants and rhinos.  Read more
Posted by Nancy Ramos at Thursday, September 1, 2016

Zoos and Aquariums Mobilize to Save the African Penguin from Extinction in the Wild

In his National Geographic Ocean Views blog post, Ric Urban, Newport Aquarium Chief Conservation Officer and AZA SAFE African Penguin Individual Identification Project Coordinator, writes about how AZA-accredited facilities are working to protect the future of African penguins: "One would think there is a problem putting these two words together “African & Penguin.”  Don’t penguins need snow and ice to survive?  Looking at the 18 species of penguins found throughout the Southern Hemisphere, many of the species live in more tropical areas, not only at the bottom of the world. There are penguins found in the Galapagos Islands, South America, New Zealand, Australia — and even Africa. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with African penguins and tell the penguin’s story of survival." Read full article

Posted by Nancy Ramos at Tuesday, August 30, 2016

WAZA and TRAFFIC Join Forces to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and TRAFFIC today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to intensify collaboration to combat illegal wildlife trade by jointly supporting its prevention and enhancing public awareness of wildlife-trade related conservation threats.  Read more
Posted by Nancy Ramos at Thursday, August 18, 2016

World Elephant Day

Over these past five years, the AZA community invested more than $6.3 million in elephant conservation efforts, across more than 240 reported projects. Read More

Posted by Rob Vernon at Friday, August 12, 2016

Native endangered turtles head back to the wild August 12; State proclaims the week of August 7 as “Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project 25 - Year Anniversary”

The Woodland Park Zoo writes: "Once on the brink of extinction, the Western pond turtle--the only indigenous turtle in Puget Sound--is still here after 25 years...In celebration of 25 years of collaborative efforts to restore the population in Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed August 7-13, 2016 as the 'Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project 25-Year Anniversary.'" Read full article

Posted by Rob Vernon at Thursday, August 11, 2016

Aquarium, marine group plan to tag sharks off LI this month

Newsday writes: "Most people flee from sharks, but biologist Jon Forrest Dohlin wants to play tag with them off Long Island.

He will be observing as other researchers attach satellite and acoustic transmitters to as many sharks as they can find this month in a two-week expedition led by the New York Aquarium and Ocearch, the nonprofit behind the global shark tracker. They want to find out if sharks are making the waters here their nursery, their playground, their summer hangout and why." Read full article

Posted by Rob Vernon at Wednesday, August 10, 2016

One in Five Whooping Cranes Dies From Gunfire. Some Are Trying to Stop It.

Newsweek reports: Whooping cranes are majestic whie birds that stand 5 feet high, making them the tallest birds in North America. Due to hunting, their population dwindled to about 20 by the 1940s. But after coming perilously close to extinction, they've been helped back by the tremendous dedication of scientists and advocates with groups like the International Crane Foundation, based in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Read more ...

Posted by Rob Vernon at Friday, August 5, 2016
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