The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a non-profit organization that accredits zoos and aquariums in the United States and Canada. AZA zoos and aquariums meet rigorous standards in animal care, education, and conservation. They also play a vital role in conservation efforts around the world.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network. IUCN’s mission is to conserve nature and ensure sustainable use of natural resources. IUCN works with a wide range of partners, including AZA zoos and aquariums.
AZA and IUCN have a long-standing partnership. AZA zoos and aquariums are active participants in IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC). SSC is a network of experts who work to conserve threatened and endangered species. AZA zoos and aquariums also provide financial support to IUCN’s conservation programs.
Here are some specific examples of how AZA zoos and aquariums are working with IUCN to conserve wildlife:
- The AZA has a Species Survival Plan (SSP) for every species of animal that is kept in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. SSPs are designed to ensure the long-term survival of these species in human care.
- AZA zoos and aquariums have reintroduced over 1,000 animals into the wild. These reintroductions have helped to boost populations of endangered species, such as the black-footed ferret and the California condor.
- AZA zoos and aquariums conduct research on endangered species. This research helps to improve our understanding of these species and how to protect them.
- AZA zoos and aquariums educate the public about conservation. They do this through exhibits, educational programs, and outreach efforts.
The partnership between AZA and IUCN is essential to the conservation of wildlife. AZA zoos and aquariums are on the front lines of conservation, and they play a vital role in saving species from extinction.