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Conservation numbers add up across accredited zoos

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)—Woodland Park Zoo’s accrediting body—put out their latest Annual Report on Conservation Science, and the numbers are in. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums contribute $160 million a year to wildlife conservation, supporting more than 2,650 conservation projects in 130 countries!

“AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are global leaders in wildlife conservation,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy, in a press release announcing the report. “While AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums provide great care to animals in their facilities, they are also working around the world to make a positive impact for many imperiled species.”

The latest Annual Report on Conservation Science shows that AZA-accredited zoos and aquarium funded an extensive range of projects, including support for anti-poaching teams in range country national parks, population assessments, research on marine mammal strandings as indicators of ocean health, support for local communities to resolve human-animal conflict, habitat restoration, campaigns against illegal bush meat hunting, training for field veterinarians, and both rearing and rehabilitating species for reintroduction into their natural habitats.

The projects focused on the conservation of 692 species representing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and flora, most of which are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as having an endangered, vulnerable or near threatened status in the wild.

Woodland Park Zoo partners with 35 field conservation projects taking place in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, accomplishing critical breakthroughs like...

YUS Conservation Area of Papua New Guinea. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

...creating Papua New Guinea’s first ever Conservation Area, protecting 180,000 acres of forest—the size of Chicago...

Zoo-reared western pond turtle is released into Puget Sound wetlands. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

…bringing western pond turtles back from the brink of extinction in Washington, growing the population from 100 to 1,500…

A child shows of artisan craftwork made for Snow Leopard Enterprises. Photo courtesy of Snow Leopard Trust.

…and selling ornaments made by Mongolian craftspeople, creating an alternative income to poaching endangered snow leopards

The zoo’s field conservation strategies differ from region to region, species to species, and community to community. But collectively, the impact of Woodland Park Zoo’s work with collaborators around the globe is making a more sustainable world for people, wildlife and the landscapes we share.

The unique strength that zoos have in the fight against wildlife extinction is that we’re not alone—we have you! Zoos are well positioned to reach millions each year, offering the unique opportunity for visitors to connect with nature, learn about conservation issues around the globe, and join us in taking action to make a difference for wildlife.

Video: See animals, save wildlife at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. 

Every time you visit Woodland Park Zoo, you have an opportunity to take action by voting for the conservation project of your choice at our Quarters for Conservation kiosks. See animals, save wildlife!