Zoos Prevent Extinction
(And do other good work.)
This is an excerpt from an email from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association to its members. The AZA isn’t the only zoo accrediting body in North America, but it is the largest and arguably the most rigorous, requiring its members to participate in research, conservation, education, and sustainability efforts. Here’s a list of some of the 2016 accomplishments of the members:
AZA-accredited and certified related facilities spent approximately $216 million dollars last year on field conservation projects, breaking the $200 million dollar mark for the first time (217 facilities reporting).·
Projects benefitted species in more than 127 countries, and projects most frequently occurred in the United States, Kenya, Indonesia, China, and Canada.·
823 species and subspecies benefitted from conservation action, including 231 species listed as endangered or threated under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
AZA-accredited facilities engaged in more than 90 million audience-driven education opportunities, including visitor-initiated interactions like nature play spaces, interpreters at exhibits, discovery carts, and more (146 facilities reported). ·
Over 21,500 education volunteers contributed 2 million hours of service at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.
52 facilities generated renewable energy on-site or purchased it for their business operations (128 facilities reported). ·
Twenty facilities reported having certified wildlife habitat on-site, 16 facilities reported buildings that are LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and 10 were certified as “Dine Green” through the Green Restaurant Association.
Approximately $26.8 million was spent on 1,249 research projects conducted in 55 countries around the world (180 facilities reporting). ·
AZA members published 237 peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, book chapters, or graduate thesis.·
most often focused on animal care, health, and welfare; and species and habitat
conservation. (122 facilities reporting) With
each year, more information is collected that demonstrates how the AZA
community of accredited zoos and aquariums and certified related facilities
provide unique venues for informal learning, set examples in sustainable
business practices, make important contributions to science, and work toward
securing the future for wildlife.