From the Desk of Dan Ashe

Support AZA on Giving Tuesday

Our Earth is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction; with hundreds of species disappearing each year. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and its 230-plus accredited members envision a world where all people respect, value, and conserve wildlife and wild places. Through comprehensive breeding and conservation programs, AZA-accredited facilities have successfully saved numerous species from the edge of extinction, such as the black-footed ferret, scimitar-horned oryx, California condor, and golden lion tamarin; and we are now on the front lines of collaborative field conservation, education, and scientific research through our Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program.

Since launching in 2015, AZA SAFE has grown to include projects for 19 species of concern, including Asian elephants, gorillas, cheetahs, western pond turtles, and sharks and rays. In 2017, our members spent more than $15.7 million to help save these animals from extinction. Learn more about SAFE here.

Through SAFE, we’ve rescued more than 10,000 critically endangered radiated tortoises from the illegal wildlife trade, and built and installed hundreds of artificial nests in African penguin colonies in South Africa. We’ve worked with fishermen in Mexico on sustainable fishing practices to mitigate effects on the critically endangered vaquita, and with Congress to protect the last remaining red wolves.

While many within our community have dedicated our careers to helping save species from extinction, we are also acutely aware it is not a challenge we can solve on our own – as individuals or as an organization. Luckily, our recent study shows that people throughout the U.S. want to be allies in this work.  AZA’s recent survey confirmed that people care about endangered species, with 87% of respondents saying they want to help protect animals from extinction. On average, they say they would be willing to donate $15, volunteer 8 hours, and travel 300 miles each month to do this. Unfortunately, many don’t know how to get started.

So get started with SAFE! Join forces with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, their collective scientific expertise, millions of visitors, and extensive resources to make a difference for wildlife.  Giving Tuesday provides the perfect opportunity for those who want to get involved to contribute to the cause. AZA will participate in Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27th this year, with proceeds supporting SAFE projects. Stay connected, get engaged, and save species this Giving Tuesday to SAFE by donating here and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Posted by Ashley Jones at 11:00 AM

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