We are securing a future for wildlife around the world by tackling today's most complex and pressing human-wildlife conservation issues.
We develop and implement unique and collaborative projects that directly address wildlife survival and benefit local people in some of the most critical ecosystems on the planet. Conservation issues are human issues, so we must look at our work holistically and find solutions that empower human communities while also protecting wildlife to make lasting progress.
Protecting wildlife from immediate threats resulting from unsustainable human activity, including human-wildlife conflict, poaching & illegal trade, and habitat loss. Strategic and collaborative efforts are needed at every level to protect wildlife and habitats from exploitation and illegal activity.
Building conservation capacity
locally and regionally to strengthen the knowledge, skills, tools, competencies and abilities of individuals and communities (through training, education, awareness-building, and empowerment) - improving their ability to effectively carry out conservation activities.
Promoting conservation science through the study of biodiversity, conservation and human ecology and the relationships between them. Investigations embrace the natural, physical, social, economic and political sciences and generate information needed for effective and measurable conservation action.
We all must work together to build conservation capacity, promote and apply conservation knowledge, and carry out and support the conservation actions necessary for protecting our planet and its wildlife, habitats and ecosystems - on which we all ultimately depend.
The Zoo confronts wildlife conservation issues by addressing the complex issues that are keys to the long-term survival of wildlife and habitats.
We support, develop and implement unique and collaborative conservation projects that promote wildlife survival, benefit local people and directly address the most vital and emerging threats to wildlife today.
Human-wildlife conflict is a serious obstacle to wildlife conservation worldwide and is becoming more prevalent as human populations increase, development expands, the global climate changes and other human and environmental factors put people and wildlife in direct competition for often shrinking resources. When human-wildlife conflict occurs, both human welfare and wildlife conservation interests are negatively affected. People lose valuable resources and property, income from cash crops or livestock, and sometimes even their lives. Conservation goals are not met because wildlife is further endangered by hunting or retaliatory killing, and the support of local communities for conservation programs is lost. The challenges presented by human-wildlife conflict also represent unique opportunities for development of conservation initiatives that benefit both people and wildlife. Prevention and mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts reduces the economic and social costs to human communities who coexist with wildlife and fosters greater tolerance of wildlife and support for conservation.
Human/wildlife conflict is a primary conservation issue for lions and cheetah, gorillas, tigers, Andean bears, and elephants.
Protected areas are important refuges for wildlife, and many times just as critical are adjacent key habitat areas, corridors and buffer zones. As natural areas shrink and become more fragmented and degraded, protection and restoration of habitat is becoming increasingly important for the long- term survival of wildlife. Research on ecology and habitat use can identify areas that provide access to necessary resources and serve as critical corridors for dispersal and migration, providing information necessary for effective long-term land use planning. The involvement of landowners and communities that live near protected areas is critical to the successful establishment and protection of habitats, corridors and buffer zones. Community-based initiatives can reinforce protection of existing habitat, create additional protected areas, and facilitate habitat restoration efforts. Demonstrating short- and long-term benefits and providing resources and incentives for those willing to set aside land for conservation make wildlife and habitat more valuable to protect than to exploit.
Habitat loss is a primary conservation issue for giraffe
, Asian turtles
, Andean bears
, and slow loris
Illegal Wildlife Trade
Tigers, elephants, rhino, sharks and other wildlife are in danger of disappearing in our lifetime as a result of the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products. This illegal trade (wildlife trafficking) is consuming wildlife at an alarming rate and is a grave threat to the survival of many of the earths’ species. This black market turned “big business” is worth an estimated $20 billion US a year and controlled by dangerous international criminal networks linked to terrorism, and trafficking of drugs, arms and people. Illegal Wildlife trade is an extremely complex political, social, economic, and environmental issue with global implications and significant human and wildlife impacts. Addressing it requires strategic interventions at all points in the illegal wildlife trade chain, from collector to consumer. This involves anti-poaching efforts, law enforcement and regulatory support, legislation and political action, large-scale awareness building and education, public advocacy and personal consumer behavior change.
Illegal wildlife trade is a primary conservation issue for tigers, rhinos, elephants, Asian turtles, and slow loris.
Where We Work
The Zoo targets efforts in Africa, Asia and Latin American and works with conservation partners in more than two dozen countries around the world. No matter the location, we consider local and regional practices and values, and cultivate programs that are sensitive to the needs and activities of people living with wildlife.
Future for Wildlife grants provide support to field researchers and conservationists in Africa, Asia and Latin America through annual competitive grants programs.
The Scott Neotropical Fund supports field conservation and research done by students and scientists living and working in Latin America (Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean) that involve wildlife, habitats and people and directly affect conservation. The focus is on projects that combine sound research with clear conservation implications and will continue to benefit the local people, wildlife and habitats of the Neotropics into the future.
Find out more about the projects that have received our support
The Africa and Asia Seed Grants programs support field conservation and research projects in Africa and Asia. Annual awards are made to conservation and research initiatives involving wildlife and their habitats, and educational or cultural activities that involve or impact wildlife and their habitats. Ideal projects have clear and direct conservation impact, positively affect local people and create opportunities for capacity building in country.
Find out more about applying to the Zoo’s Conservation Grants Programs