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 2016, 217 of AZA's accredited institutions and certified-related facilities reported spending approximately $216 million on more than 3,409 conservation initiatives in 127 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 2016:

Acuario de Veracruz A.C. Aquarium of the Bay Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Bramble Park Zoo Brevard Zoo Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Chicago Zoological Society - Brookfield Zoo Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Dakota Zoo Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Gladys Porter Zoo
Happy Hollow Zoo Henry Vilas 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 Nashville Zoo, Inc. National Aquarium
New England Aquarium North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island North Carolina Zoological Park
Oglebay's Good Zoo Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium Roger Williams Park Zoo
Sacramento Zoo Safari West Wildlife Preserve Saint Louis Zoo
Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens Smithsonian National Zoological Park South Carolina Aquarium
Steinhart Aquarium Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Tennessee Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium the Wilds Toronto Zoo
Tracy Aviary Utah's Hogle Zoo Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Virginia Zoological Park 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 2016.

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

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. This document is available on the Governing Authorities Resource Center page (member log-in required).

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