- Created on Friday, 21 September 2012 18:17
- Written by Imperial Valley News
Silver Spring, Maryland - The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced that San Diego Zoo Global has been awarded Top Honors for the 2012 AZA International Conservation Award for its Scientific Approaches to Conservation of Giant Pandas and Their Habitat program.
“San Diego Zoo Global is a proven leader in international wildlife conservation,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “While all AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums make conservation a top priority, this award brings well-deserved recognition to Zoo Atlanta for making a positive impact on the future of this species.”
This annual International Conservation Award recognizes San Diego Zoo Global, along with its conservation partners at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, Zoo Atlanta, and Memphis Zoo, for exceptional efforts toward Giant Panda regional habitat preservation, species restoration, and support of biodiversity in the wild.
“San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda program has been one of the signature programs of our institution, catalyzing our conservation and science program and broadening the scope of our collaborative efforts, both with other AZA zoos and with our Chinese colleagues,” said Doug Myers, Chief Executive Officer of San Diego Zoo Global. “Through this collaborative effort, we have made significant contributions to giant panda conservation and are encouraged to see that the panda has a more hopeful future.”
Few endangered species generate the level of fascination and enthusiastic support as the iconic giant panda. The four giant panda-holding facilities in the AZA—San Diego Zoo Global, Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, Zoo Atlanta, and Memphis Zoo—have assumed the challenge of using this reputation as starting point for creating an exemplary zoo-based conservation program. They began with the premise that responsible display of pandas to the public as an educational tool was only Step 1 in a comprehensive conservation program using the panda as an ambassador for their own conservation. Working collaboratively for more than a decade, these four institutions partnered with U.S. and Chinese governmental agencies, as well as numerous non-governmental organizations and academic institutions, to amass and apply a large body of scientific knowledge on this species and its habitat. They have played an instrumental role in the dramatic turnaround in the captive breeding program and have been a driving force in field-based conservation science shared with and applied by reserve managers and policy-makers. New biological knowledge ranging from reproductive hormones to ecological requirements on a landscape scale has been applied to captive breeding strategies and reserve management. The key tool used in reaching these goals has been in-country capacity building— whether via side-by-side research partnerships, training workshops, or public education and outreach. All four institutions have allocated millions of dollars and thousands of labor hours to ensure the success of this program. When combined with efforts by the Chinese governmental authorities and other conservation organizations, these efforts have helped to secure a more optimistic future for the panda.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM, Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, the Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more visit www.aza.org.