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.
Since 2009, Mulhouse zoo, supported by the Bas-Rhin Departmental Council and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), has been involved in the breeding and annual reintroduction of European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis), whose populations are greatly declining due to river drainage and competition with Red-eared sliders.
In collaboration with a natural reserve, la Petite Camargue Alsacienne, more than 400 5-year old turtles have been released in the past four years – including 200 in 2018 - in Lauterbourg, where the species used to live several decades ago.
In addition to collecting behavioural data, the CNRS is closely monitoring the animals to assess how well they deal with their new environment. So far, the results are really promising!