Leaders in biodiversity conservation

Date: 2010/06/01

 

Zoos and aquariums worldwide receive more than 700 million visitors annually and spend about US$ 350 million on wildlife conservation each year.

 

Gland, Switzerland, 1 June 2010 (WAZA – World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) – For a worldwide survey, conducted on the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5 June, WAZA approached 12 national and regional zoo and aquarium associations, covering all regions of the world, to provide a figure regarding the following two questions: How many visitors do your member institutions receive annually and how much money is spent on wildlife conservation by your member institutions? (Wildlife conservation in this context encompasses in situ conservation of wild species and habitats, including related ex situ work).

 

"We have to make clear that zoos and aquariums worldwide provide a valuable contribution to the protection of biodiversity," says Dr Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA. "For some species, like the California condor, zoos have played a crucial role for their survival. Experts from zoos and aquariums contribute enormously to the protection of endangered species, which otherwise would be lost forever. Currently, amphibians and corals face particular extinction threats, and are on top of our conservation agenda."

 

Zoos and aquariums worldwide receive more than 700 million visitors annually. This figure is unparalleled by any other group of conservation-oriented institutions and corresponds to 11% of the global human population. Visitors are not only the targets of environmental education but also a source of funding for zoos and aquariums. The world zoo and aquarium community spends about US$ 350 million on wildlife conservation each year. In relation to major international conservation organisations, the world zoo and aquarium community is among the main providers of conservation funding. The figures on visitor numbers and conservation expenditures suggest that the world zoo and aquarium community has the potential to play an important role in both environmental education and wildlife conservation.

 

We acknowledge ALPZA, AMACZOOA, ARAZPA, AZA, CAZA, CAZG, EARAZA, EAZA, JAZA, PAAZAB, SAZARC and SEAZA for providing figures on visitor numbers and conservation expenditures.  

 

Two examples of species conservation projects include the Cat Ba Langur in Vietnam and the Snow Leopard in Mongolia:

 

 

Download facts about the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity:

http://www.waza.org/en/site/conservation/2010-year-of-biodiversity

 

Overview of WAZA Conservation Projects:

http://www.waza.org/en/site/conservation/waza-conservation-projects/overview

 

World Environment Day on 5 June 2010 and WAZA:

http://www.waza.org/en/site/conservation/world-environment-day

 

For more information contact:

Ulrike Fox, Marketing & Communication Officer, WAZA

Tel: +41 22 999 07 90; press@waza.org

 

Definitions (as in the Convention on Biological Diversity)

Ex situ conservation means the conservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats.

In situ conservation means the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties.

 

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  • Notes to Editors

    The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is a global organisation that harmonises the principles, policies, practices and strategy of over 1,300 leading zoos and aquariums.  WAZA is the unifying representative of the global zoo and aquarium community and works in partnership with IUCN, national governments and non-governmental organisations to ensure high standards of animal welfare and to achieve conservation in zoos and aquariums (ex situ) and in nature (in situ).

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