Woodland Park Zoo focuses on conservation
Snow leopards, and jaguars, and bears — oh, my! Woodland Park Zoo focuses on conservation not only in the Pacific Northwest but around the globe.
Monday, March 14, 2011 - 14:52
PEARLY WHITES: Jaguar at Woodland Park Zoo showing his teeth. (Photo: shannonkringen/Flickr)
Mayor Mike McGinn declared the week of March 7-11 Woodland Park Zoo Field Conservation Week to honor the zoo's efforts in conservation within the Northwest and around the globe. Woodland Park Zoo, a 2010 AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Exhibit Achievement Award recipient for its Humboldt Penguin exhibit, is renowned for its animal conservation. The zoo has three major efforts to support field conservation: Partners for Wildlife, Jaguar Conservation Fund small grant and Conservation Dues.
• Partners for Wildlife is the zoo's most comprehensive approach out of the three. With this approach, the zoo realizes that conservation will not work without the human element and cooperation. Part of the approach is to incorporate habitat and species conservation and research with education, capacity building and community support. That is, the approach shows local communities that their needs and those of the wildlife they live with are not mutually exclusive and in many ways the two can benefit each other. With this approach, the zoo focuses on three main regions in the world: Africa, Asia-Pacific and our own Pacific Northwest. Some of the zoo's best-known projects include: the Snow Leopard Trust, the Mbeli Bai Gorilla Study and Grizzly Bear Outreach project.
• Small Grants Program: Jaguar Conservation Fund is a small grant that the zoo awards annually to scientists that are the foremost in jaguar protection and research. The guidelines:
1) Relates directly to habitat protection and/or conservation of jaguars
2) Includes a strong educational component
3) Involves participation of, and/or benefits for local communities
4) Collaborates with other partners, including other conservation organizations
The guidelines ensure that the zoo supports innovative projects that lead to jaguar and jaguar habitat conservation and increase awareness for these beautiful animals.
• Conservation Dues: Through the zoo's Field Conservation Department, Woodland Park Zoo makes modest contributions annually to initiatives and projects that the AZA has identified. Then the Field Conservation Department works closely with zoo curators to make the selections from all the possible initiatives and projects while following strict guidelines. Some of the 2010 recipients included Ape Taxonomic Group Conservation Initiative; Asian Elephants of Sri Lanka: Schools' Awareness Program; and the Egyptian Tortoise Conservation Program, to name a few.
As part of the week of events all attendees that came to the zoo wearing green got half-off their zoo admission on March 5 and 6. The weekend also ushered in the 2011 ZACC (Zoos and Aquarium Committing to Conservation) Conference that Woodland Park Zoo hosted at the Sheraton Hotel downtown March 7-11, which is most befitting. The conference, which is biennial event, promotes networking and a positive atmosphere for zoos and aquariums to meet and discuss possible partnerships to benefit field research for wildlife and wild areas around the globe.
This year ZACC is focusing presentations and sessions on the following topics:
— Standard Measures of Conservation Success
— Innovative Long-term Funding for Field Conservation
— Promoting Conservation Through Media and Art
— Education Approaches in Community-Based Conservation
— Sustainable Technologies for Zoos/Aquariums and Field Conservation
— Species Conservation in an Ecosystem Context
— Human-Wildlife Conflict
— Global Health: Linking Human and Wildlife Health to the Environment
To support Woodland Park Zoo and all it does in education, animal care and conservation matters, take a trip to the zoo. Then, if you're so inclined, make a stop at one of the ZooStores and see all of their merchandise that not only benefits local communities around the world but helps promote the conservation of animals they live in close proximity with. (Don't worry: you can still find cute stuffed penguins there, as well.)
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