Working Together to Conserve Endangered Species

Wildlife Conservation is at the Heart of Our Mission. Reid Park Zoo is proud to be involved with conservation programs throughout the world. Our board of directors recently took formal action, joining efforts by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), to oppose changes in the Endangered Species Act because they would negatively impact efforts to save animals in the wild.

These changes were proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Conservation is at the heart of everything we do. For example, Reid Park Zoo actively participates in 42 Species Survival Plan® (SSP) programs through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). We work closely with other accredited zoos and aquariums around the country to make responsible breeding and animal placement decisions that ensure animals are protected for generations to come.

Your Zoo has participated in projects that save vaquita, a critically endangered porpoise in the Sea of Cortex less than 400 miles from Tucson; elephants in Africa through Charles and Lara Foley’s in-situ conservation effort, the Tarangire Elephant Research Project; Asian and African rhino species through the International Rhino Foundation; giant anteaters in the Cerrado habitats of Brazil through the Anteaters and Highways project, coordinated by Dr. Arnaud Desbiez; and Baird’s tapirs in Nicaragua through the Baird’s Tapir Project.

Closer to home we occasionally support groups working to rehabilitate our local wildlife, caring for injured, sick, distressed or orphaned animals so they can be released back into the wild.

We are against all proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act because they would:

  • limit consideration of currently unoccupied habitats in procedures for designating critical habitats
  • change the interpretation of “foreseeable future” in terms of a species’ risk for extinction to make it more difficult to consider all possible negative effects
  • rescind a USFWS rule to automatically convey the same protections for threatened as for endangered species
  • restrict the range of available science to be considered in decision making regarding the status of species

We take wildlife conservation very seriously. The Endangered Species Act has prevented hundreds of species from going extinct. The current Act, since 1973, has prevented extinction of 99% of the species it protects. That’s a strong track record that must be continued.