Organizations seek to halt and reverse catastrophic biodiversity decline
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SILVER SPRING, Md. (Oct. 11, 2023) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has united with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and its member facilities to advance the goals of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes protecting at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030 (30x30).
More than 100 AZA-accredited members have so far signed a declaration supporting efforts to end and reverse the world’s catastrophic decline of biodiversity. WCS has joined AZA to unite the entire zoo and aquarium community behind making 30x30 a reality, along with the other agreed-upon targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
Those goals and targets include retaining and restoring the ecological integrity of ecosystems; saving threatened and endangered species; ending illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade; and preventing future pandemics.
AZA members, located in 13 countries, currently invest more than $250 million annually in field conservation, making the organization one of the largest funders for biodiversity globally. The zoos and aquariums receive more than 200 million visitors per year and seek to engage and inspire them to care about and take action for animals and their ecosystems.
“The superpower of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums is the opportunity to influence and inspire the 200 million people who visit every year,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “Our members provide experiences that create connections to nature, evoke empathy, and inspire action that will help us succeed in preserving 30 percent of nature by 2030.”
Monica Medina, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs four zoos and an aquarium in New York City, including the Bronx Zoo, said, “At WCS, we are proud to be a part of efforts uniting zoos and aquariums behind the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework goals and targets, including 30x30 and ecological integrity. This is the decade where it must be all hands on deck to halt and reverse the biodiversity crisis. Zoos and aquariums are a mega-force for conservation. Our WCS Bronx Zoo, working closely with our global field and policy programs, has a long history of funding conservation, providing scientific knowledge to field-based projects, and educating and inspiring millions about the importance of wildlife and their habitats.”
The declaration reads, in part: “With the power of the millions who support our parks annually, we fully commit to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, especially its goals and targets to halt and reverse the decline in biodiversity.
“We will strive to make it a reality by working globally with governments, other conservation organizations, civil society, Indigenous peoples, local communities, businesses, and other stakeholders.
“We will continue to work to ensure that all our visitors and members understand the importance of protecting, conserving, and restoring both species and their habitats, and achieving all of the targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework. We will strive to find ways to enlist their help and support.”
The 115 inaugural zoos and aquariums that have signed the declaration as of Oct. 11, 2023:
Abilene Zoological Gardens; Akron Zoo; Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative; Aquarium Of Niagara; Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum; Audubon Zoo & Park; Baylor University Bear Habitat; Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Birmingham Zoo; Blank Park Zoo; Brevard Zoo; Bronx Zoo – A Wildlife Conservation Society Park; Brookfield Zoo - Chicago Zoological Society; Butterfly Pavilion; Buttonwood Park Zoo; Cabrillo Marine Aquarium; California Academy of Sciences; Central Florida Zoo; Central Park Zoo – A Wildlife Conservation Society Park; Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden; Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; Clyde Peeling's Reptiland; Columbus Zoo & Aquarium; Como Park Zoo and Conservatory; Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo; Cosley Zoo; CuriOdyssey; The Dallas World Aquarium; Dayton Society of Natural History, Boonshoft Museum of Discovery; Detroit Zoological Society; Dickerson Park Zoo; Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment; Duke Lemur Center; El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens; Ellen Trout Zoo; Essex County Turtle Back Zoo; The Florida Aquarium; Fort Wayne Children's Zoo; Fossil Rim Wildlife Center; Fresno Chaffee Zoo; Georgia Aquarium; Great Plains Zoo; Henry Vilas Zoo; Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens; Jenkinson's Aquarium; Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium; Lake Superior Zoo; Lehigh Valley Zoo; Lincoln Park Zoo; Little Rock Zoo; The Living Desert Zoo and Garden; Los Angeles Zoo; Lubee Bat Conservancy; Marineland Dolphin Adventure; The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk; Maryland Zoo in Baltimore; Memphis Zoo; Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden; Millbrook's Trevor Zoo; Miller Park Zoo; Milwaukee County Zoo; Mississippi State Aquarium; Moody Gardens, Inc.; Mystic Aquarium; Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens; Nashville Zoo; National Mississippi River Museum; New England Aquarium; New York Aquarium – A Wildlife Conservation Society Park; North Carolina Aquarium Society; Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo & Adventure Park; Oakland Zoo; OdySea Aquarium; Oglebay Good Zoo; Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden; Oregon Coast Aquarium; Oregon Zoo; Peoria Zoo; Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium; Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park; Polar Bears International; Prospect Park Zoo – A Wildlife Conservation Society Park; Pueblo Zoo; Queens Zoo – A Wildlife Conservation Society Park; Racine Zoo; Red River Zoo; Reid Park Zoo; Riverbanks Zoo; Roger Williams Park Zoo; Rolling Hills Zoo; Saint Louis Zoo; San Antonio Zoo; San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; Santa Barbara Zoo; Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo; Scovill Zoo; SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort; Seattle Aquarium; SeaWorld Parks; Sequoia Park Zoo; Shedd Aquarium; South Carolina Aquarium; The Staten Island Zoo; Sunset Zoo; Tennessee Aquarium; The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium; Toronto Zoo; Tracy Aviary; Virginia Aquarium Foundation; Virginia Zoo; Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo; Woodland Park Zoo; Zoo New England - Franklin Park Zoo & Stone Zoo; Zoo Miami; ZooMontana
Additional media contact: Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Rob Vernon, email@example.com; +1 202-365-7612
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, animal wellbeing, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and twelve other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation 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 saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
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