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Zoos and Gorilla Conservation: Have We Moved beyond a Piecemeal Approach?

Zoos and Gorilla Conservation: Have We Moved beyond a Piecemeal Approach?

Chapter:
(p.142) Chapter Eleven Zoos and Gorilla Conservation: Have We Moved beyond a Piecemeal Approach?
Source:
The Ark and Beyond
Author(s):
Kristen E. LukasTara S. Stoinski
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226538631.003.0012

A decade ago Stoinski, Lukas, and Hutchins (2008) conducted and published a review of ways institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) contributed to in situ conservation of gorillas from 1997 to 2005. The results revealed that nearly half of Gorilla Species Survival Plan zoos were not supporting gorilla conservation and the efforts of those that did so were largely short-term, sporadic, and unevenly distributed among institutions. Fully aware of the myriad challenges facing natural areas, good zoos and aquariums are making increasingly stronger commitments to wildlife conservation and becoming places where people can act and be part of the solution. Many mechanisms have arisen in the past few years to ensure that zoos and zoo visitors are connected to wildlife conservation, particularly for charismatic species such as gorillas. This chapter provides an overview of the Ape Taxon Advisory Group Conservation Initiative, evidence that individual zoos are now making long-term commitments to gorilla conservation programs, and a call to action for AZA zoos and aquariums to collectively become the world’s largest wildlife conservation organization. By leveraging combined scientific, financial, and advocacy resources zoos and aquariums can play a key role in redefining the future for wildlife.

Keywords:   Ape Taxon Advisory Group, wildlife, AZA, mission, conservation action, international collaboration, Species Survival Plan

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