The AZA-Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project (AZA-FRTRP) is an AZA member-driven coral rescue and conservation network focused on the rescue, housing and future propagation of Florida corals affected by stony coral tissue loss disease.
In summer 2018, following the development of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Response Team network and while the Florida Coral Rescue Plan was being developed, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified AZA member facilities as the only U.S. entities having the skills, expertise and resources to receive and manage Florida corals rescued from the Florida Reef Tract as part of the plan’s coral rescue activities. AZA created the FRTRP in response to that invitation in November 2019.
The FRTRP membership includes 20 zoos and aquariums managing 19 rescue coral holding facilities located in 12 U.S. states, including Disney, The Florida Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and SeaWorld. These four facilities in Florida provide leadership to the network of coral holding facilities.
There are seven additional rescue coral holding facilities that collaborate with the FRTRP. Over 50 additional AZA-accredited facilities, commercial partners, universities, community colleges, state and federal agencies contribute to the support and success of the rescue facilities.
The AZA-FRTRP provides support in the following ways:
Since early 2019 AZA-accredited facilities across the country have been working together and with Florida State and Federal agencies, universities and coral conservation groups to rescue nearly 2000 corals and provide safekeeping of them in facilities across the country.
The essential care and health management provided by AZA facilities to rescued corals is the foundation of Florida Reef Tract restoration efforts to come. Restoration efforts cannot take place without the work of our AZA facilities.