Polar Bears International

Executive Summary of AZA's Partnership with Polar Bears International

AZA accredits facilities that have achieved rigorous standards for animal care and welfare, wildlife conservation and science, and public education. With over 200 accredited member facilties that collectively serve an annual audience larger than all major sporting events combined, AZA and its member facilities actively work to conserve wildlife and natural habitats through leadership in wildlife science, research with animals and their habitats, development of technology and animal welfare practices, training and technology transfer, public education, and the direct involvement in, and support of, field-based conservation initiatives. Through these efforts, AZA provides valuable information and services to governments and non-governmental organizations, scientists, land managers, decision-makers, and a large, national, public audience to facilitate conservation outcomes.

Polar Bears International (PBI) is an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research and education. PBI serves as the preeminent resource for polar bear information, scientific, and educational resources, and has a measurable impact on the preservation of polar bear habitat. PBI works with the leading scientists on research projects such as population studies, capture and release telemetry studies, and husbandry, nutrition, physiology, and human-impact topics and PBI's wide range of educational projects inspire, inform, and empower people to make a difference by reducing carbon emissions and motivating others to do the same. PBI also works with wildlife management authorities, government authorities, and academic researchers to save polar bears as the effects of climate disruption increase.

AZA and PBI agree that there is a need to engage Americans in conservation because the earth’s ecosystems, climate, and everything that depends upon them are at a tipping point. AZA and PBI have determined that their common goal of conservation can be greatly enhanced by working together to develop programs that engage Americans in becoming aware of and involved in reducing the impact of climate disruption. This partnership focuses on polar bears as powerful icons for the widespread impact of climate disruption on their arctic habitat.


  1. Develop and promote climate disruption awareness and education programs focused on public engagement in support of polar bear conservation, husbandry, and welfare.
  2. Work with the conservation research community and government regulatory authorities to develop appropriate programs in accredited zoos and aquariums that can assist the long-term survival of polar bears.
  3. Develop and implement a strategy and detailed work plan, based on the availability of resources contributed for the initiative, to actively engage AZA members and especially their guests in better understanding the impact of climate disruption on polar bears and their arctic habitat.
  4. Work with AZA’s Committees and members and partner organizations (specifically ecoAmerica) to support content development.
  5. Meet as required to forward this MOU and the Initiative, and to develop short- and long-term objectives, strategies, and tactics for the Initiative and to do so in a manner that pro-actively supports the project goals.
  6. Work together to design and share content and messaging tools as well as measures for quantifying project implementation and measures of success.
  7. Work together to coordinate public information activities. When press releases or other public statements pertaining to the project are being prepared, each Partner’s Public Affairs and Policy specialists will provide opportunities to review and comment prior to their release.
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