Association of Zoos and Aquariums Announces Conservation Endowment Fund Grants

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The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF) has awarded $170,000 to nine wildlife conservation initiatives.

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From coral to frogs to elephants, AZA-accredited institutions and their partners are at the forefront of wildlife conservation here in North America and around the world.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF) has awarded $170,000 to nine wildlife conservation initiatives.

“From coral to frogs to elephants, AZA-accredited institutions and their partners are at the forefront of wildlife conservation here in North America and around the world,” said AZA President and CEO, Jim Maddy. “The scientific contribution of those receiving Conservation Endowment Fund awards is vital to the wildlife conservation movement.”

The AZA CEF supports the cooperative conservation-related scientific and educational initiatives of AZA members and their partners. Every major type of conservation and animal care initiative is represented — research, field conservation, education and outreach, animal welfare, animal health and animal management. Many CEF projects are collaborations among AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and state, federal and international wildlife agencies, academia and other conservation organizations.

Since 1991, AZA’s CEF has supported more than 290 projects worldwide with nearly $5 million in funding. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) and the Walt Disney Company have provided supplemental funds to the CEF for over a decade, which significantly increases the number of projects funded by the CEF each year.

After a competitive review of over 80 applications, nine projects were funded for 2009. These include:
Effects of Disease Treatments on Captive Coral Health
Ilze Berzins, John G. Shedd Aquarium/The Florida Aquarium

Quantifying and Validating Animal Care Takers’ Insights as a Tool for Continuous Monitoring of Zoo Animal Welfare
Nadja Wielebnowski, Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo
Jessica Whitham, Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo    

Translocation as a Tool to Reintroduce and Supplement Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) Populations on Restored Conservation Lands
Michelle Smurl, Brevard Zoo

In-situ and Ex-situ Conservation of the Critically Endangered Acroporids through Public Aquaria and Coral Reef Scientists
Mike Brittsan, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Mark Schick, John G. Shedd Aquarium
Kathy Vires, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Daily Travel Distance of African elephants (Loxodonata africana) in Botswana
Matt Anderson, San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research

For the past two years, AZA’s CEF has been utilized to address global amphibian declines. This year almost half of the awards will focus on aspects of this important conservation issue. These projects include:

Establishing a Captive Breeding Facility for Malagasy Amphibians
Jennifer Pramuk, Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society

Genetic Analyses of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus and the Global Extinction Crisis
William Modi, Zoological Society of San Diego
Erica Rosenblum, University of Idaho

Reintroduction of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog
Ron Swaisgood, Zoological Society of San Diego
Jeff Lemm, Zoological Society of San Diego

A Citizen Science Training Model for Investigating the Presence or Absence of Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in Amphibian Populations
Penny Danielewicz, Buffalo Zoo
Tiffany Vanderwerf, Buffalo Zoo

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, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA 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 global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more, visit http://www.aza.org.

Contact:
Steve Feldman, AZA, 301.562.0777 x 252
Linda Cendes, AZA, 301.562.0777 x236

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