Field Conservation

In 2011, AZA’s Field Conservation Committee (FCC) explored what was meant by the phrase “field conservation" for the AZA community, and defined it to be those efforts that directly contribute to the long-term survival of species in natural ecosystems and habitats.

Member Efforts

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums coordinate, participate in, and support conservation projects that take place in the field, lead to species recovery, relate veterinary care to wildlife disease issues, and manage assurance populations. They conduct research both on-grounds and in the field that investigates ways to protect species or ecosystems in the wild, promote conservation awareness and personal behavior change, engage in advocacy, build the skills and capacity of practitioners worldwide, and raise critical funds. Some of the programs for which AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are well-known include those related to the reintroduction of animals into the wild.

Every year, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums provide information about their field conservation activities to AZA’s Conservation and Research Database. While members use this database to enter updates, it is open for anybody to explore; follow the link, select “Field Conservation” as the project category, and learn more about how the AZA community is helping animals around the world.

AZA’s Conservation Grants Fund provides financial support to AZA members for their collaborative conservation-related efforts. Learn more about the CGF, which members have received awards, and about the outcomes of many of the awards.

A Snapshot

In 2015, 221 of AZA's 241 accredited institutions and certified-related facilities reported spending approximately $186 million on more than 3,200 conservation initiatives in 121 countries. Explore each Annual Report on Conservation and Science to learn about what each facility is doing individually, or explore Highlights to see what the AZA community is accomplishing together. The following institutions led the way by contributing the highest percentages of their budgets to field conservation in 2015:

African Safari Wildlife Park Alaska SeaLife Center Aquarium of the Bay
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo Bramble Park Zoo Brevard Zoo
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Dakota Zoo Denver Zoo Detroit Zoo
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Gladys Porter Zoo Houston Zoo, Inc.
International Crane Foundation Lincoln Park Zoo Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Memphis Zoo Minnesota Zoological Garden Monterey Bay Aquarium
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Naples Zoo Nashville Zoo, Inc.
New England Aquarium North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
North Carolina Zoological Park Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium Oregon Zoo
Phoenix Zoo Sacramento Zoo Safari West Wildlife Preserve
Saint Louis Zoo Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens Smithsonian National Zoological Park
South Carolina Aquarium Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo The Dallas World Aquarium
the Wilds Tracy Aviary Turtle Conservancy
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Western North Carolina Nature Center
Wildlife Conservation Society Woodland Park Zoo Zoo Atlanta
Zoo Boise    

Helping Members Meet Their Goals

Conservation Partners

AZA’s Conservation Partners work with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to help them reach their conservation goals. The following organizations were among the top 20 most common field conservation collaborators for AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and certified related facilities in 2015.

Field Conservation Committee

AZA’s Field Conservation Committee helps all members engage in and grow their commitment to field conservation. The FCC has developed a Toolkit to Engage in Field Conservation that includes guidelines for developing a strategic plan for conservation, ideas for developing dedicated revenue streams, suggestions for communicating about field conservation initiatives, as well as AZA's conservation–related accreditation standards and application questions. The FCC also offers a mentor program and other resources. Contact members of the Committee to learn more!

Executive Leadership Development Program

Coming soon! Students in AZA’s 2015 Executive Leadership Development Program developed Making the Case for Field Conservation to help people educate their governing authorities about the importance of field conservation.

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