Actualité | 09 jan, 2024

Cologne Zoo and IUCN Species Survival Commission establish a conservation Centre for Species

First cooperation of this kind in Germany.

Cologne Zoo is further expanding its commitment to the conservation of natural biodiversity. In cooperation with the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has opened a Centre for Species Survival. The Center will catalyse important science, assess species risk of extinction and drive forward planning and action to reverse declines in priority species and ensure their future survival. 

The Species Survival Commission is the world's leading networks of species conservationists – bringing together more than 9,500 experts to advise the world on the scientific, technical and practical aspects of species conservation. Cologne Zoo will host the new Centre for Species Survival and employ a new staff team based at the zoo to coordinate these international efforts. SSC has been growing an international Centre for Species Survival network of partners to ensure we are all working more effectively and collaboratively to protect species. The cooperation with Cologne Zoo is the first of its kind in Germany. Jon Paul Rodríguez, Chair of the Species Survival Commission, and Prof. Theo B. Pagel, Director of Cologne Zoo, have now signed the founding declaration. 

Jon Paul Rodríguez: "Zoos provide key expertise to the species conservation toolbox. They are active on many levels: with environmental education, conservation breeding, teaching and research as well as in the implementation of conservation projects in the countries of origin of the wild animals. Cologne Zoo is an outstanding example of this. We are therefore all the more pleased about the cooperation."

Prof. Theo B. Pagel: "We are a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and very proud to found this centre in Cologne with the Species Survival Commission. We bring to it what distinguishes us. Namely, practical know-how in keeping and breeding rare species, broad experience in the implementation of species conservation projects as well as expertise in education and research." 

Focus on wild pig species and songbirds

IUCN Species Survival Commission is currently establishing new species conservation centres with partners in different regions of the world. Each of these Centres has its own focus. The Cologne focus is on Asian songbirds and wild pig species. In concrete terms, the aim in Cologne is, for example, to gather knowledge on the threat status of wild pig and songbirds and to determine for which species measures need to be initiated most urgently. The task profile also includes bringing together the necessary actors from zoos and aquariums, botanical gardens, natural science museums and nature conservation NGOs and developing plans together, in the sense of the One Plan Approach. Other focal points include broadening knowledge about the focus species among experts and communicating the species conservation issue to the general public.

Cologne Zoo is creating the position of "Special Survival Officer" to coordinate the Centre. Cologne Zoo is concentrating on wild pig species and Asian songbirds, as it already bundles broad expertise on these animals in its team and there is an overlap in their distribution. Zoo curator Dr Johanna Rode-White, for example, is also Chair of the IUCN SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group. She will cooperate closely with the Centre. In addition, the zoo has been working for a long time with David Jeggo, head of the IUCN SSC Asian Songbirds Specialist Group, and has already accumulated a great deal of research and practical knowledge in this area as well.
The Paul Riegel Foundation is a sponsor of the new species conservation Centre at Cologne Zoo.

Cologne Zoo - Ark for the protection of species

With around 11,000 animals from almost 800 species, Cologne Zoo is one of the most diverse zoos in Europe. It has been an unmistakable part of Cologne since 1860. It combines tradition with innovation and leisure and recreation with science and research. Cologne Zoo continues to set international standards - e.g., in the construction of modern animal houses or in its extensive commitment to species conservation. It keeps, breeds and researches 160 species that are considered "Critically Endangered", "Endangered" or "Vulnarable" according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Since 2010 alone, Cologne Zoo has provided around 2.3 million euros for species projects.