18 October - 300 members of the World Association
of Zoos and Aquariums came together in Cologne to discuss
the role of zoos in species conservation. They are reviewing
how they can contribute to conservation, while governments
set new global targets to protect the planet’s endangered
plant and animal species at the biodiversity conference
in Nagoya, 18-29 October in Nagoya.
Although the continuous loss of species is most alarming, zoos do convey a message of hope to involve the greater public in urgent conservation issues. Educating children, families and interested individuals is the way forward to show people that they can make a difference by adopting a sustainable life style.
WAZA reviewed its success in reintroducing threatened animal species bred in captivity into the wild. Prominent examples were the Przewalski’s horse in Mongolia, the Californian condor or the golden lion tamarind in Brazil. $ 350 million have been invested in field projects. Sixty-six species listed as extinct in the wild survive only in captivity.
CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, who gave a key note address, explained the role of the Convention on Migratory Species in conserving endangered migratory species and their habitats in collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and other biodiversity related organizations. WAZA has proven to be a valuable partner for education and outreach at a global level.
The International Year of Biodiversity has shown that it was vital to stress the importance of biodiversity from an economic and geostrategic point of view. Biodiversity and migratory species in their habitats in particular provide essential ecosystem services such as pollination, seed dispersion, water cycling, and regulation of climate as well as indicators of healthy ecosystems.
To mark its 150th Anniversary, Cologne Zoo hosted this year’s annual conference of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It invests € 250,000 annually to support 10 conservation projects across the globe. Under the umbrella of the conservation programme “Biodiversity is Life” initiated 10 years ago, 197 projects are being implemented worldwide with a budget of € 250 million annually.