It has been estimated that at least twenty percent of the world's biological diversity may be lost within the next few decades. AZA’s remarkable dedication to animal conservation is furthered by its Conservation Partner members, memoranda of understanding with government agencies and non-government organizations, and partnerships and collaborations with other organizations.
AZA’s Conservation Partners are members of AZA from representing professional societies, conservation organizations, universities, some government entities and other non-profits. Many of AZA’s Conservation Partners work with AZA accredited zoos and aquariums to help them reach their conservation goals. Current AZA Conservation Partners are listed in AZA’s online member directory. To access the directory, log into AZA’s website and a link to the “AZA Member Directory” will appear in the left hand menu. Click on that, and then select the “Search the Organization Directory” link under the search fields. Select “Conservation Partner” as the Member Type, and press “Go” to access a full list of AZA Conservation Partners.
AZA has developed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and memoranda of agreement (MOA) with several government wildlife agencies and non-governmental conservation organizations. These MOUs specifically identify the ways in which the parties involved are committed to actions needed for conservation initiatives.
In September 2018, AZA and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) signed an MOU to assess and pursue, where feasible and appropriate, cooperation and collaboration in the areas of education and family activities, wildlife conservation, and advocacy and outreach.
In December 2014, AZA and the IUCN-SSC signed an MOA that outlined much closer collaborations between SSC’s Specialist Groups and AZA’s Animal Programs and the IUCN Red List and AZA’s education and outreach community. It also promotes cooperative conservation projects and coordinated recovery planning.
AZA has long worked with the dedicated professionals at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) toward species recovery and in 1998, AZA and USFWS established an MOU to strengthen the ties of the science-based programs and the potential for development of public education and outreach programs. Many of the reintroduction efforts that AZA members are involved with are done in partnership with USFWS. Read more about some of these reintroduction efforts. AZA also supported legislation that created the 'Save Vanishing Species' stamp to provide funding for projects supported by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds (MSCF). USFWS administers these funds to conserve tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles, and both African and Asian elephants.
In 2009, AZA and Polar Bears International (PBI) established an MOU to work cooperatively to engage people in understanding the specific impacts of climate disruption on polar bears and becoming personally involved in reducing climate impacts on polar bear habitat. Read more about AZA's partnership with PBI. Numerous AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums also work with PBI and have become certified Arctic Ambassador Centers (AACs).
The Amphibian Ark was jointly established by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, and the IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group to address the ex situ components of the IUCN’s 2008 Amphibian Conservation Action Plan.
The Butterfly Conservation Initiative (BFCI) supports the recovery of federally listed butterfly species in the United States and increases public awareness of and involvement in local and regional butterfly conservation efforts.
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) is a United Nations Environment Programme committed to ensuring the survival of Great apes, which consist of chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans. In early 2016, AZA joined GRASP to participate in and promote GRASP’s six priorities: political advocacy, habitat protection, conflict-sensitive conservation, disease monitoring, green economy, and illegal trade.
The focus of the National Pollinator Garden Network is to inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices, habitat conservation and provide these groups the tools to be successful.
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) is an inclusive partnership dedicated to the conservation of the herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) and their habitats. PARC membership comes from all walks of life and includes individuals from state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, museums, pet trade industry, nature centers, zoos, energy industry, universities, herpetological organizations, research laboratories, forest industries, and environmental consultants.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. The RSPO is a not-for-profit association that includes stakeholders from the palm oil industry to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. Current membership represents 40% of the palm oil industry and covers all sectors of the global commodity supply chain.
All of civil society must band together to stop consumer demand and cut off supply chains and market access for illegal wildlife products. By working together to leverage existing company, non-profit, and foundation initiatives and unify messages, members of the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance empower consumers to make the right purchase decisions and, by proliferating best practices through industry sectors, choke off access to the U.S. market.