Conservation Programmes

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Conservation Breeding Milestones for Texas Horned Lizard: 1000th Hatchling at Fort Worth Zoo, 204 Reintroduced AND Evidence of Breeding in the Wild! 

October 8, 2021

The 1000th Texas horned lizard hatched at Fort Worth Zoo last month, an incredible milestone for this institution, which developed the husbandry and breeding protocols for this species. Also last month, 204 captive-bred hatchlings (100 of them bred at Fort Worth Zoo) were reintroduced into the wild by Texas Parks and Wildlife, Dallas Zoo & Caldwell Zoo. And there is more... Field biologists found hatchlings in the wild believed to be the offspring of zoo-bred individuals that were reintroduced in 2019.

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Captive-Bred Group of UK's Rarest Lizard Reintroduced Into the Wild in Dorset

October 5, 2021

The sand lizard is the UK's rarest lizard as its populations have drastically declined in the country due to habitat loss. In order to restore this species in the UK, the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust are leading a project that includes captive breeding and reintroduction. Last month 140 sand lizards, bred at project-partners Marwell Wildlife and several others, were reintroduced into the wild in Dorset!

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Thousands of Critically Endangered Zoo-Bred Frogs Reintroduced in South Mississippi

September 27, 2021

The critically endangered dusky gopher frog can be found in two shallow ponds in Ward Bayou, South Mississippi... In partnership with other zoos & institutions, Memphis Zoo's captive breeding programme for the species has resulted in the reintroduction in the area of around 4,000 tadpoles & 4,000 frogs since 2017! Captive-bred frogs have also started breeding naturally in the wild!

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Reintroduction in Action: Eastern Barred Bandicoot No Longer Extinct in the Wild in Mainland Australia 

September 22, 2021

 ⚠ Zoo Conservation in Action - a timeline:
👎1989: Fewer than 150 Eastern barred bandicoots remained in mainland Australia, a decline caused by habitat loss & invasive predators.
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👍1991: Zoos Victoria started a captive breeding programme for the species.
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👎2013: The Eastern barred bandicoot was listed as "Extinct in the Wild" in mainland Australia.
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👍2021: Three reintroduced populations live in protected areas in mainland Australia, the species is now listed as "Endangered" and Zoos Victoria can end its 30-year breeding programme, in which over 650 bandicoots were bred! 

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German Zoo Reintroduces 27 Critically Endangered European Hamsters Into the Wild

September 16, 2021

Opel Zoo in Germany has recently reintroduced into the wild 27 out of the 52 European hamsters that were born at the zoo this year. The reintroduction area was developed to suit the ecological needs of this species, listed as "Critically Endangered" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The reintroduction programme was identified as a vital and successful conservation measure for this species.

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First Markhor Born Via Artificial Insemination - Born in French Zoo to Male in Finland

September 10, 2021

For the first time, a markhor was born via artificial insemination! The young was born at Réserve Zoologique de la Haute-Touche to a female inseminated with sperm collected from a male housed at Korkeasaari Zoo, the coordinator of the EEP. This achievement is important for the conservation of this species, listed as "Near Threatened" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but also for other captive breeding programmes, as it allows for genetically-valuable individuals to have offspring in other institutions without having to move long distances.

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Zoos Victoria's All Three Zoos Now Powered By 100% Renewable Energy

September 3, 2021

In a first for zoos in mainland Australia, Zoos Victoria (Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary & Werribee Open Range Zoo) are powered by 100% renewable energy! Supported by the Victorian government, the zoos have achieved another sustainability milestone, after being certified as a carbon neutral zoo in 2013... More zoos to follow?

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Zoo-Bred Jacutingas Sent for Future Reintroduction Into the Wild

August 13, 2021

Four black-fronted piping guans (jacutingas) bred at Parque Das Aves joined other captive-bred conspecifics in a journey to Serra da Mantiqueira (São Paulo, Brazil), to be prepared for future reintroduction in the wild, part of a conservation programme by SAVE Brasil. The zoo had already sent six jacutingas to the programme in 2017 and five of them were reintroduced in the Mata Atlântica.

Listed as "Endangered" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, this south American species is threatened by illegal hunting and habitat loss.

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Hand-Reared Curlews Reintroduced Into the Wild, in Norfolk, UK

July 30, 2021

Dozens of hand-reared Eurasian curlews have been released into the wild, in Norfolk, UK. They were collected as eggs from Ministry of Defence sites, where they are often destroyed as they pose a danger to aviation, and raised at BIAZA member Pensthorpe Natural Park. This is part of an initiative that, in partnership with other institutions, aims to boost the wild populations of this species in the east of England. The Eurasian curlew is globally listed as "Near Threatened" but it is a high priority conservation species in the UK, as 65% of them have been lost there since 1970.

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Headstart Programme: Nashville Zoo Released Eastern Hellbenders into the Wild

July 21, 2021

The Nashville Zoo & partners have released 29 eastern hellbenders into the wild, in Tennessee. They were collected from the wild, as eggs, and raised at the zoo for six years, part of a headstart programme for the species. The zoo has been involved in eastern hellbender conservation since 2003, and has made great progress in breeding this species in captivity.

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Captive-bred Alpine Ibex Reintroduced in the Wild in Austria

July 16, 2021

Nine Alpine ibex were reintroduced in the wild, in the Austrian Lessach Valley, where the species has gone locally extinct. Six of the animals were born at Tiergarten Nürnberg, the other three at Alpenzoo Innsbruck & private breeders. Nürnberg Zoo has been involved in reintroduction projects for this species since 1995, but the Lessach valley is a new reintroduction site!

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Tennessee Aquarium Releases 250 Juvenile Southern Appalachian Brook Trout in the Wild 

July 12, 2021

The Tennessee Aquarium has released 250 juvenile southern Appalachian brook trout in a new release site - a mountain stream in Cherokee National Forest. The only trout native species in the region, it disappeared from more than 75% of its natural range. The aquarium collects and breeds wild adult individuals and keeps the young over the winter, releasing them in the spring.

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World's First: Baby Gorilla Born to Zoo-Bred, Reintroduced in the Wild, Parents! 

June 30, 2021

In a world's first, a baby western lowland gorilla was born to two zoo-bred, reintroduced in the wild, parents! The adult gorillas were born under the EAZA-led European Ex-Situ Programme (EEP) for the species - the male was born in Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve & the female in Zoo de Beauval, and they were reintroduced in Gabon in 2013 and 2019, respectively.

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Prague Zoo Supporting Conservation of Critically Endangered White-Bellied Heron

June 28, 2021

The white-bellied heron is a critically endangered species with under 60 individuals left in the wild, half of them in Bhutan. Prague Zoo is supporting conservation efforts for the species, which include creating an insurance population by bringing some of the young from wild nests, where they would likely not survive, to captivity. The zoo has supported the development of a breeding facility in Bhutan, has helped training Bhutanese keepers and has provided other resources such as transport boxes and veterinary medicine.

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Czech Zoos Partner Up In New Conservation Program to Fight Illegal Wildlife Trade

June 17, 2021

The Trenggiling Conservation Program is a new initiative to fight the illegal wildlife trade and support the conservation of the critically endangered sunda pangolin. Prague Zoo, Zoo Ostrava and Zoo Olomouc are the main partners in this program.

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Their activities include a new rescue centre in Sumatra, the employment of former poachers as field assistants and educational activities with the local communities.

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Oakland Zoo Helping to Vaccinate Threatened Rabbit Subspecies from Fatal Virus

June 12, 2021

The riparian brush rabbit is one of eight subspecies of brush rabbit and is threatened with extinction. The RHDV2 is a fatal virus that originated in Europe and is now spreading through south US and Mexico. Oakland Zoo has partnered with other institutions to help vaccinating the riparian brush rabbit population, so they can protect this endangered subspecies from the virus and potential extinction.

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Eight Captive-Bred Red Wolves Released Into the Wild

May 31, 2021

Eight captive-bred red wolves (four adults and four pups) were released into the wild, in North Carolina, US. The pups were born at Akron Zoo but were sent to be placed in the den of a wild female, so she could adopt them, in an effort to increase both numbers and genetic diversity in the wild population.

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The red wolf is critically endangered with only 20-25 individuals left in the wild (including the ones that have just been released)! The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and coordinated by North Carolina Zoo, aims to bring this species back from the the brink of extinction.

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Estonian Zoo Sends Ten European Minks for Reintroduction in Spain

May 19, 2021

Tallinn Zoo has sent 10 zoo-bred European minks to Spain, where they will be reintroduced in the wild! This species is critically endangered and the European Ex-Situ Programme (EEP), managed by this zoo, is one of the conservation actions in place!

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Zoo-led Conservation Programme Helping to Restore Endangered Snake Population

May 13, 2021

The Louisiana pine snake is an endangered species from North America. A captive breeding and reintroduction programme led by Memphis Zoo, and in partnership with other zoos & institutions, has resulted in the release of hundreds of individuals in their natural habitat. Fifty more juvenile snakes have been released last month and the research team also discovered that previously released individuals are now breeding naturally in the wild!

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Prague Zoo Releases Przewalski's Horses in 20-Hectare Field in Prague's Historical Site

April 29, 2021

Prague Zoo released four () Przewalski's horses in an almost 20-hectare plain at Prague’s Dívčí hrady. A stallion will eventually be joining them. By grazing in the area, the wild horses will contribute to the regeneration of the habitat while allowing visitors to observe and learn more about them.

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The herd will also provide an important contribution to the EAZA Ex-Situ Programme (EEP) for this species, which aims to maintain a healthy insurance population in captivity to aid in reintroduction efforts when necessary.

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Melbourne Zoo Sets Up First Captive Breeding Programme for Rare Giant Burrowing Frog

April 22, 2021

The first ever conservation breeding programme for the giant burrowing frog has been set up at Melbourne Zoo (Zoos Victoria). Scientists from the zoo and partner institutions collected tadpoles from the wild and they will now study their development into adult frogs so they can optimise the breeding programme.

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On top of being threatened by the chytrid fungus, habitat loss, climate change and invasive predators, this species has also lost great parts of their natural habitat due to bushfires in recent years. The captive breeding programme is an important part of integrated conservation efforts to restore and protect this species in the wild.

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EAZA Ex Situ Programmes Get a New Section in Their Website

April 14, 2021

Explore some of the EAZA Ex Situ Programmes (EEPs) in the new dedicated section in their website. Some of the EEPs already showcased include the Pygmy marmoset, the European pond turtle, the Javan green magpie, the Przewalski’s horse & the Desertas wolf spider.

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Western Burrowing Owls Reintroduced in Southern California

April 3, 2021

🦉 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance & partners have released 24 Western burrowing owls in Ramona, San Diego. This is part of an integrated conservation programme to boost the populations of this species in southern California. Watch video of the release here.

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Zoo de Beauval is the New Manager of a Chimpanzee Conservation Programme in Congo

March 30, 2021

Zoo de Beauval's association Beauval Nature is now managing  HELP Congo - a conservation programme for chimpanzees in Conkouati-Douli National Park.

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The programme is now expanding to protect not only chimpanzees but the rich biodiversity within the park. Their main missions include population monitoring and surveying, anti-poaching and park protection, eco-tourism and empowering and educate local communities.

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Chester Zoo Releases 10-Year Conservation Masterplan

March 23, 2021

Chester Zoo released its 10-year Conservation Masterplan, with four key focus areas:

🌎Populations (in-situ & ex-situ management);

🌎Places for wildlife (habitat protection & restoration);

🌎People (enable & promote human-wildlife coexistence);

🌎Policy (push for effective planning & legislation).

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New "Center for Species Survival" Opens at Brazilian Zoo 

March 19, 2021

The Center for Species Survival Brazil has been launched - a new hub for the conservation of the very rich Brazilian biodiversity!

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Based at Parque Das Aves and founded in partnership with IUCN Species Survival Commission Conservation Planning Specialist Group, the CSS was created under the  Reverse the Red global movement to ensure a future for wild species & ecosystems.

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Loro Parque Sends Two More Lear's Macaws for Reintroduction in the Wild

March 10, 2021

Two zoo-bred Lear's macaws have been reintroduced into the wild, in Brazil, thanks to the efforts of Loro Parque & partners. This species is bred at the zoo under specific protocols and conditions, so they can more easily adapt to the wild once released. Once in Brazil, they are housed in large aviaries and go through "reintroduction training", so they adapt to the environment and further develop the necessary skills to survive.

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Loro Parque had already sent six Lear's macaws for reintroduction, in August 2018!

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Marwell Wildlife Supports Conservation Efforts for the Scimitar-Horned Oryx

March 03, 2021

Marwell Wildlife not only manages the international studbook and the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for the scimitar-horned oryx, but is also involved in multiple conservation efforts for this species. They are assisting with the monitoring of the reintroduced populations and they have provided funding, expertise, animals and equipment to reintroduction efforts on top of their own projects.

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Listed as "Extinct-in-the-Wild" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the scimitar-horned oryx remains only in captive and semi-wild conditions, with its future survival depending on captive breeding and reintroduction programmes.

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First Successfully CLONED Black-Footed Ferret Has Been Born in the US!

February 20, 2021

The first ever successfully cloned black-footed ferret was born in December last year! "Elizabeth Ann" is the clone of a wild-caught ferret that was cryopreserved over 30 years ago!

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Why is this important? This achievement is a step forward to increase the genetic diversity of the black-footed ferret population. This species is threatened and almost went extinct but was brought back from the brink thanks to a captive breeding and reintroduction programme!

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This project is a partnership between Revive & RestoreSan Diego Zoo Global, ViaGen Pets & others!

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Canadian Zoo Sends Two Cheetahs to Zimbabwe, For Future Reintroduction into the Wild

February 13, 2021

Two 18-month male cheetahs have been transferred from Parc Safari (Canada) to Zimbabwe, for future release in the wild. They are now in an acclimatisation enclosure, to habituate to the new environment and learn the necessary hunting skills. This project aims to establish a breeding population of cheetahs in Imire and assist in the repopulation of other reserves.

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Imire: Rhino & Wildlife Conservancy and The Aspinall Foundation are the other institutions involved in this project.

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Zoobotánico Jerez Receives 17 Northern Bald Ibis for Reintroduction into the Wild

February 7, 2021

The Zoobotánico Jerez has received 17 Northern bald ibis for reintroduction into the wild. They were sent by

La Citadelle de Besançon, Parc zoologique et botanique de Mulhouse & GaiaZOO, under the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for the species.

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The veterinarians at the zoo will health check, ring and attach GPS-tracking devices to the individuals. They will then move to an acclimatisation aviary, where they will stay for a few months before they are released into the wild.

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How do European Zoos & Breeding Centres Boost the Ex Situ Breeding Efforts for the Bearded Vulture?

January 31, 2021

The collaborative efforts of the Vulture Conservation Foundation and EAZA have resulted in over 500 bearded vulture chicks produced and over 300 reintroduced in the wild since 1978.

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Behind this success is the hard work and commitment of several zoos & breeding centres across Europe. From careful monitoring of the animals' behaviour to hand rearing and use of "adoptive parents", many strategies are applied to boost this breeding programme.

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Zoo in US sends Mexican Gray Wolf Pack For Reintroduction in Mexico

January 24, 2021

A Mexican gray wolf pack (a pair and their seven pups) was sent by ABQ BioPark to Mexico, for future reintroduction in the wild. The animals will first go through a "reintroduction training" process, so they learn the necessary skills to survive in the wild. This subspecies is threatened mainly due to conflicts with humans/livestock.

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Seven International Experts Join Global Center for Species Survival

January 20, 2021

SEVEN international conservation experts have joined the Global Center for Species Survival - a collaboration between Indianapolis Zoo & IUCN Species Survival Commission. As conservation coordinators, they will help supporting & connecting conservation efforts all over the world!

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Persian Leopard Pair Sent From European Zoo to Breeding & Reintroduction Centre in Russia

January 13, 2021

A Persian leopard pair was sent from Nordens Ark to the breeding centre in Sochi National Park (Russia), with hopes it will successfully breed there (as it did at the zoo) and increase the genetic diversity of the individuals to be released into the wild.

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This leopard subspecies is endangered and thought to be extinct in the Russian Caucasus, but captive-bred individuals started being reintroduced in the area in 2016.

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The Persian leopard is managed in an EAZA European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), coordinated by Lisbon Zoo (which have also sent leopards to the breeding centre in the past).

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Zoo-Bred Wētāpungas Released in Bay of Islands, Ending a 180-Year Absence

December 28, 2020

Over 100 zoo-bred wētāpungas have been reintroduced in the Bay of Islands, after a 180-year absence. Auckland Zoo & conservation partners have now released over 5,000 wētāpungas across eight sites! As this species plays an important role in seed dispersal in their native habitat, their reintroduction is beneficial for the overall ecosystem!

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Zoo-Bred Kākās Reintroduced into the Wild

December 18, 2020

Three zoo-bred North Island Kākā juveniles have been reintroduced in the wild. The birds were bred at Hamilton Zoo and transferred to Cape Sanctuary in October, part of a soft-release programme for this endangered species.

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Zoo Córdoba Receives Iberian Lynx Pair - Surplus from the Ex-Situ Conservation Programme for the Species.

December 17, 2020

The Zoo Córdoba has received a pair of Iberian lynx from the (Lynx ex-situ) breeding programme for this species. The two animals are unsuitable for reintroduction or breeding due to health and/or genetic anomalies but they found a new home at the zoo.

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Only one zoo is actively part of the breeding programme
for this species (Zoobotánico Jerez) but a few zoos in Portugal & Spain house surplus individuals, alleviating space from the breeding centres and educating the public about the species and the threats it's facing.

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Reverse the Red: the New Global Movement Against EXTINCTION!

December 5, 2020

Reverse the Red is the new global movement against the extinction of species & ecosystems. The IUCN Species Survival CommissionWorld Association of Zoos and Aquariums

and many other institutions all over the world have partnered for this movement, which aims to use SCIENCE & COLLABORATION to effectively protect the world's most threatened species.

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Photo: Post-War Recovery of Wild Dogs in Central Mozambique (Paola Bouley).

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Zoo-Bred European Bison Sent for Reintroduction in Natural Park in Azerbaijan

November 27, 2020

Five zoo-bred European bison were sent to Shahdag National Park in Azerbaijan to be reintroduced into the wild. A bull born at Zoo Berlin and four cows (from Zoo Rostock, Tiergarten Bernburg & Domaine des Grottes de Han) will be kept in a fenced area to acclimatise to their new surroundings, before they are fully released next Spring.

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Rare Brown Teals Hatch at Auckland Zoo, Part of Breed-for-Release Programme

November 22, 2020

Three pāteke (or brown teal) ducklings have hatched at Auckland Zoo, part of a breed-for-release programme. With just over 2,000 individuals left in the wild, the breeding programme is essential to boost the wild populations.

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Perth Zoo Released 31 More Endangered Dibblers Into the Wild

November 10, 2020

Last month, Perth Zoo released 31 more zoo-bred dibblers into the wild! They are the only zoo in the world that breeds this endangered species and they have released over 900 dibblers into the wild since 1997!

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Zoo-Bred Greater Stick/Nest Rats Reintroduced into the Wild in Australia

November 8, 2020

Forty zoo-bred greater stick-nest rats were reintroduced into the wild! The animals were bred at Zoos South Australia (Adelaide Zoo & Monarto Safari Park) and reintroduced in Mallee Cliffs National Park.

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Feral predators nearly drove this species to extinction, but integrated in-situ & ex-situ conservation efforts are re-establishing populations in their native range.

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Several Bushfire Recovery Projects Will be Funded by Australasian Zoo and Aquarium Association

November 4, 2020

The Zoo and Aquarium Association Bushfire Appeal raised over $1 million earlier this year, which will be used to fund several rescue, assessment & recovery projects for areas and species affected by the 2019/2020 drought and bushfires in Australia.

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The funded projects will focus on:
✅Rescue and rehabilitation in affected areas;
✅Further research to assess the impact of bushfires on threatened species;
✅Ex situ breeding programmes for affected & threatened species;
✅Biobanking of threatened frogs.

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Louisville Zoo to Reintroduce 22 More Black Footed Ferrets  Into the Wild

October 30, 2020

Out of the 27 black-footed ferrets that were born at Louisville Zoo this year, 22 will be reintroduced into the wild very soon!

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This zoo is one of the six organisations working in this conservation project and has contributed with over 700 ferrets for reintroduction since 1991.

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This species is also included in the Save Animals From Extinction (SAFE) initiative by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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World Okapi Day: Zoo-Supported Okapi Conservation Project Working to Protect the Endangered Okapi

October 18, 2020

⚠️Today is World Okapi Day! The okapi is an endangered species, closely related to the giraffe and endemic to the forests of Congo. The Okapi Conservation Project works with the government and local communities to manage and protect the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and the animals that inhabit it, with the support of a global network of institutions (including over 50 zoos!).

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💲And why not supporting them if you can? Donate here.

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Over 1000 Zoo-Raised Hellbenders Reintroduced Into the Wild

October 10, 2020

Over 1000 captive-raised Ozark and eastern hellbenders were reintroduced into the wild this summer, thanks to the efforts of Saint Louis Zoo & partners!

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✔️The zoo not only has a successful breeding programme for the Ozark hellbenders, but it also partakes in a headstarting programme for both species - collecting eggs from the wild for future release.

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✔️Thousands of hellbenders have been reintroduced since 2008!

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Captive-Bred Tasmanian Devils Released in Mainland Australia

October 6, 2020

🐾Tasmanian devils are now back in mainland Australia, after 3,000 years absence... A total of 26 captive-bred devils have now been released in a large fenced area in a sanctuary, where they will be closely monitored. It is hoped the devils will re-balance the ecosystem, which has been severely affected by invasive species!

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✅Aussie Ark, which is an environmental charity supported by several zoos, is one of the organisations behind the Tasmanian devil reintroduction efforts.

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Photo credit: Aussie Ark

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Wellington Zoo's Conservation Strategy 2020-2023

October 5, 2020

Wellington Zoo has released their Conservation Strategy for 2020-2023... Their conservation aims for this period include:
🌎Supporting restoration programmes for native species in the wild;
🌎Research collaboration with universities;
🌎Annual skills audits;
🌎Monitored Community Conservation Programmes;
🌎Staff participation in conservation efforts.