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Zoo wins national conservation awards

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

Exciting news!

This week, Woodland Park Zoo took home two national conservation awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the accrediting organization for more than 200 zoos and aquariums in North America.

An Oregon spotted frog is released into Northwest habitat. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

We won top honors in the North American Conservation Award category for our collaborative Oregon Spotted Frog Reintroduction Project, along with our partners Oregon Zoo and Northwest Trek. Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo also earned the Significant Achievement Award for the Oregon Silverspot Captive Rearing Program.

These awards represent the 14th national and international honors in conservation for us from AZA.

The Oregon Spotted Frog Reintroduction Project is a six-year collaborative effort among Woodland Park Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Northwest Trek and other conservation leaders in the Pacific Northwest. Populations of the native Oregon spotted frog have been decimated by 80 to 90 percent in Washington state. But Woodland Park Zoo and its partners joined to institute a recovery program to restore the endangered frog populations and get them back on their feet. The frogs are collected from wetlands as eggs and placed at the zoos for hatching and rearing for several months in a predator-free home as they transform from tadpole to full-fledged frog, giving them a head start until they are large enough to avoid predators that might prey upon them.

“Receiving the North American Conservation Award is a tremendous honor for us,” said Dr. Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO. “Woodland Park Zoo plays an active role in conservation in the Pacific Northwest, and we are committed to building a better future for wildlife. Our conservation efforts reflect our commitment to preserving the native species, habitats and biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest, and we continue to make conservation a top priority at the zoo.”

Oregon silverspot butterfly. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo joined Oregon Zoo and other conservation leaders in a collaborative habitat restoration and reintroduction program to help increase the silverspot butterfly population in the Pacific Northwest. Program partners raise eggs in captivity until they become pupae and are ready to change to adult butterflies. They are then released into a protected area on the Oregon Coast in an ongoing effort to augment the population.

“The zoo’s role is even more critical than ever in tackling animal endangerment and habitat loss affecting us locally,” said Dr. Fred Koontz, Woodland Park Zoo Vice President of Field Conservation. “We believe it is our responsibility to educate our community about the issues and improve the living landscapes of our backyard.”