AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their massive audiences to save species.
AZA member organizations are working together and alongside their partners to help save animals from extinction. Learn more about our SAFE Species below. If your organization is interested in getting involved in one or more programs, please contact the program leader listed or reach out to AZA at SAFE@aza.org.
The SAFE African lion's program goal is to increase the number of African lions in the wild through public engagement and partnering with those working on the ground in Africa. The program will offer a menu of opportunities for AZA institutions to support lion conservation through both funding opportunities and public engagement.
The SAFE African painted dog's program goal is to increase the impact that AZA institutions have on African painted dog conservation in each of its three regions (West and Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa) by increasing conservation support, raising public awareness of African painted dogs in-situ and ex-situ, and building relationships between AZA institutions and key African painted dog field partners.
AZA facilities have joined forces to develop various projects, from improving disaster response protocols for oil spills to constructing artificial nests in order to address population declines caused by overfishing, habitat degradation, and oil spills.
The SAFE African vulture's program goal is to address the threat of poisoning, monitor populations, increase knowledge about vulture population status in current gap areas, and increase public engagement in African vulture conservation both among visitors to AZA institutions and within range-country communities.
The SAFE American red wolf's program goal is to support conservation efforts for this species by maintaining a healthy and viable population of red wolves under human care, growing education and awareness efforts, and aiding research vital to supporting recovery and management.
The SAFE American turtle's program goal focuses on conservation efforts for turtle species including the bog turtle, spotted turtle, wood turtle, Blanding's turtle, eastern box turtle, and all Terrapene species.
The SAFE Andean bear's program goal is to support Andean bear conservation in key landscapes including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia through targeted research, monitoring, and capacity-building efforts.
SAFE Andean Highland Flamingo supports the recovery and conservation of Andean, Chilean, and Puna (James’s) flamingos through research, public engagement, targeted training, community outreach, and education. AZA members work with Chilean partners to support activities outlined in the country’s Andean highland flamingo conservation plan, fill research gaps, and assist with the identification, prioritization, and designation of critical flamingo habitat in Chile’s northern Andean highlands.
The SAFE Asian elephant's program goal is to enhance and assist Asian elephant conservation efforts within the 13 range countries by engaging communities with elephants in human care, supporting science of the treatment and management of EEHV in Asian elephant range states, and developing education materials, tools kits, and social media materials to introduce to all AZA institutions.
The SAFE Asian hornbill's program goal is to support the sustainability and protection of wild Asian hornbills within their natural ranges from poaching, trade and habitat loss or degradation through science-based, and stakeholder-inclusive conservation action.
The SAFE black-footed ferret's program goal is to recover the black-footed ferret such that it no longer meets the Endangered Species Act’s definition of endangered and is downlisted to threatened through targeted conservation, public awareness, communication, and funding actions.
The AZA community is helping to reduce demand for rhino horn and raise money to support black rhino habitat conservation, the two greatest threats to this species.
AZA organizations and partners are supporting projects for public engagement, incidental catch from snares, population sustainability, and animal reserves to help increase cheetah population numbers in southern Africa.
The SAFE chimpanzee's program goal is to improve the population status of all four chimpanzee subspecies through collaborative conservation action, stakeholder engagement, and public awareness.
The SAFE chinchilla's program goal is to develop, coordinate, and lead the AZA community's support for the Chilean government's recovery and conservation plans for short-tailed and long-tailed chinchillas.
The SAFE Eastern indigo snake's program goal is to protect and monitor Eastern indigo snakes, and support restoration projects in key habitats including Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
The SAFE coral program has expanded the scope of its conservation targets to include additional taxa and several newly developed programs and techniques. Their program goal is to inspire and mobilize AZA members, partners, and communities to save coral reefs from extinction, with a focus on species occurring in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.
The SAFE giraffe's program goal is to support giraffe conservation by demonstrating measurable positive impacts of AZA members on the conservation of giraffe, increasing the number of AZA members that support field conservation, ensuring the stability of conservation programming, and engaging the worldwide zoo community and increase overall support.
The SAFE gorilla's program goal is to secure sustainable populations of all gorilla subspecies, with a targeted emphasis on protecting the fragile Cross River gorilla populations in Cameroon and Nigeria and halting the rapid decline of Grauer's gorilla populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
AZA-accredited zoos have an established, long-term commitment to jaguar conservation. Since the mid-1980s, AZA member institutions have been funding, conducting, and supporting jaguar-related fieldwork in Central and South America. Using objectives outlined by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group, the SAFE jaguar program is focused on protecting jaguars primarily in Central America, and expanding capacity to protect jaguars throughout their range.
The SAFE North American monarch's program goal is to take action for monarch conservation inspire increased action throughout their communities through public education and engagement, and promote reduction of the threats to monarch butterflies with specific conservation outcomes.
The SAFE North American songbird's program goal is to reduce the threats to North American songbirds and secure sustainable wild populations of these species throughout their ranges by harnessing the collective strengths of zoos, aquariums, and partners through supporting education and on-the-ground conservation activities on AZA facilities, in the community, and at state, national and provincial levels.
The SAFE orangutan's program goal is to protect and restore the wild orangutan population and their habitats through public engagement, funding, and field work.
The SAFE radiated tortoise's program goal is to prevent the extinction of the radiated tortoise by leveraging the collective expertise and resources of the AZA community and supporting field-based partners in implementing existing recovery plans through collaborative and strategic conservation and public engagement activities.
The SAFE sea turtle's program goal is to make significant and measurable contributions to the conservation of sea turtles by utilizing the collective resources of the AZA community to secure sustainable populations of all sea turtle species, focusing efforts on two of the most critically endangered sea turtles, Kemp's ridley and Eastern Pacific leatherback.
The SAFE shark and ray's program goal is to enable evidence-based support for conservation action, engage action among key public and stakeholder groups, support science-based shark conservation communication, and create opportunities for partners to provide direct, impactful, and collaborative support for the conservation of this taxa.
Michael Fatzinger, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Vice Program Leader: Paul Cox, The Shark Trust
The SAFE tree kangaroo of Papua New Guinea's program goal is to focus on conservation efforts for two species of tree kangaroos in the area with a focus on increasing awareness in the AZA community about this high biodiversity region and one of the largest cloud forests in the world, promote awareness of tree kangaroos and local culture, support local livelihoods including conservation coffee, and enable increased funding to be raised for conservation.
The SAFE vaquita's program goal is to work with and for the people of the Upper Gulf of California to create sustainable fisheries and communities in support of thriving marine life populations.
The SAFE Western pond turtle's program goal is to support the assessment of western pond turtle populations and their threats, engage the public, build public and combined stakeholder efforts, and support works that increase the number of turtles living in natural areas in the species range.
The SAFE whooping crane's program goal is to add value towards the recovery of the species to the degree so that it is no longer listed within the Endangered Species Act's definition of endangered, but is downlisted to threatened status through targeted science-based conservation, public awareness, communication, and funding actions.