Zoos and aquariums join forces with IUCN

17 December 2008 | News story

IUCN and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) have teamed up to increase public awareness of conservation issues and improve access to research carried out in zoos and aquariums. The five-year Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed today between IUCN and WAZA, will also increase resources for conservation.

“Zoos and aquariums play such an important role in educating the public about conservation,” says Jane Smart, Head of IUCN’s Species Programme. “We hope The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species can be used to make zoo and aquarium experiences even more interesting and informative for visitors.”

“This Memorandum of Understanding is a clear sign to tighten the ties between the two organizations and to build upon the existing working relationships in order to use synergies for species conservation and related education work,” says Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA.

Frankfurt Zoo, a long-standing member of WAZA, will pioneer the use of the new IUCN Red List logo and threat category scales in its visitor information system.

"We welcome this agreement between IUCN and WAZA. It comes right at a time when we are developing Frankfurt Zoo to be an international centre for the conservation of species and nature. We therefore want to introduce the newest and best information systems for our visitors," says Professor Manfred Niekisch, Director of Frankfurt Zoo.

Building on the long tradition of this zoo, Professor Niekisch points out the importance of informing the visitors not only about animals, but also about the situation of species in the wild. "Frankfurt Zoo is proud to be among the first zoos which turn this new agreement between IUCN and WAZA into action," says Professor Niekisch.

Work will also continue on the Amphibian Ark project. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ highlights that one third of amphibians are classified as globally threatened. In response to this, WAZA formed the Amphibian Ark – a joint initiative with the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and the Amphibian Specialist Group of IUCN.

The project will establish breeding programmes in zoos and increase awareness as part of IUCN’s Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. After the assessment of Costa Rican amphibians and a risk assessment for the Tanzanian Spray toad, the focus will be on awareness raising, capacity building and training.

WAZA has been a member of IUCN since 1950 and has established strong links between the IUCN Species Programme and the IUCN Species Survival Commission. During that time, the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission has served an important support role for WAZA, which provides financial support for their work.

Both WAZA and IUCN recognise the benefits of establishing a basis for co-operation and ensuring involvement of all components of their respective networks in the implementation of their respective missions as well as the IUCN 2009-2012 Programme, the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
• Lynne Labanne, IUCN Species Programme, Tel: +41 22 999 0153, Email: lynne.labanne@iucn.org
• Sabine Gyger, WAZA, Tel : +41 (0)31 300 20 30 email secretariat@waza.org