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 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.
The “Angel Shark Project: Canary Islands” is a collaboration between the Zoological Society of London, the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig and the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, working with local and international organizations and supported by Oceanário de Lisboa, among other institutions, since 2017.
The project aims to safeguard the future of Critically Endangered Angel sharks (Squatina squatina) in their unique stronghold, the Canary Islands, with a multidisciplinary approach engaging local communities, researchers and government to raise awareness and deliver conservation action.
A few examples of their actions include:
1) Repeated snorkel surveys to identify and monitor possible nursery areas as well as tagging juveniles and taking tissue samples to understand the genetic connectivity within the population;
2) Training commercial and recreational fishers in handling techniques to increase Angelshark survival when returned to the water after accidental encounters;
3) Co-developing the Angelshark Action Plan in 2016 and driving legislative changes – such as the inclusion of the species on the Spanish Endangered Species List in 2019 - where necessary.