EAZA members work from the assumption that we can, and are obliged, to do whatever is possible to protect nature, both in the field and in our institutions
In recent years, our effect on the planet has been devastating, with a massive decline in animal numbers and habitats across the globe. EAZA has never believed that keeping animals in our institutions replaces action in the wild - but experience also shows us that the knowledge and finance that we and our visitors can provide to field conservation projects can make a huge difference. EAZA believes that zoos and aquariums form one pillar of the structure that is needed to safeguard the future. Our approach to species conservation, called the One Plan approach, recognises that zoos and in situ conservationists need not only to work together to protect animals, but also to engage the public of their communities to take the lead in demanding action from authorities, governments, corporations and themselves so that together we can reduce the stress on endangered species and their habitats.
In short, EAZA believes that the future of nature depends on all of us; and that EAZA zoos and aquariums can act as a portal for their local communities into conservation across the world.
The EAZA Conservation Database is an online tool to facilitate and coordinate cooperation and communication on conservation efforts of our members within as well as outside of the zoo and aquarium community. Each month we highlight one of the projects or activities from the database.
ARTIS coordinates the African penguin EEP and has been supporting the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) for many years. Due to the rapid decline in population numbers, the African penguin was reclassified as endangered in 2010 and today, it is estimated that less than 2% of its historic population remain in the wild (less than 23 000 breeding pairs). ARTIS inspires and encourages a broad public to deal with nature responsibly. Therefore ARTIS supports SANCCOB’s educational projects which consists of lessons, arts-and-crafts and storytelling about seabirds and the marine environment. SANCCOB has treated nearly 100 000 seabirds since 1968 and through the Chick Bolstering Project (CBP), SANCCOB and its project partners rescue ill, injured and abandoned African penguin chicks and rehabilitate the birds. The project is recognized globally as one of the most successful conservation initiatives to reverse the decline of the endangered species. Since the project’s inception in 2006, SANCCOB and its partners have successfully hand-reared and released more than 4 000 chicks back into the wild. Next year SANCCOB turns 50 and to celebrate this their new seabird hospital in Cape Town is currently under construction and set to be completed in December 2017. The new centre will ensure that SANCCOB’s team of dedicated staff and volunteers will be able to save seabirds for generations to come. With only a few months left of construction, they still need to raise a significant amount of funding.
Picture credit: Francois Louw