Saving jaguars and their habitat

Woodland Park Zoo awards $10,000 annually to jaguar conservation projects. See the current projects and learn more about the grant program.

Explore jaguar conservation



Investing in endangered species before it’s too late


Of the 62,000 species of vertebrate animals, scientists estimate that about 20% are at risk of extinction before the end of the century. This loss of species diversity is unprecedented and in almost all cases human caused. But humans can also be part of the solution.

The Wildlife Survival Fund provides grants to field projects and initiatives recommended by Woodland Park Zoo curators and the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Programs. Projects awarded through the Wildlife Survival Fund represent animals in the zoo’s collection. 




Amphibian Ark Seed Grant

IUCN Red List Status:  Ranging from Threatened to Critically Endangered

The Amphibian Ark seed grant is a $5,000 competitive grant designed to fund rescue projects for species that cannot be saved in the wild. These are start-up projects working with native amphibian species within range countries. The greatest need in growing amphibian conservation efforts is to assist cutting edge, promising, and innovative projects that are in need of seed money in order to build successful long-term programs that attract larger funding.


Amphibians of Andasibe, Madagascar

IUCN Red List Status:  Ranging from Least Concern to Critically Endangered

The IUCN ranks Madagascar 12th worldwide in terms of amphibian species richness per country. Of the 289 species of frog found in Madagascar, nearly one quarter are threatened with extinction. The community-run conservation organization Mitsinjo has developed the first biosecure facility in Madagascar specifically for conducting husbandry research on and establishing assurance populations of local frog species to safeguard against extinction. The project hopes to mitigate the diverse threats facing the amphibians of Andasibe, Madagascar through capacity building to address the future arrival of the amphibian chytrid fungus with ex situ conservation measures.


AZA Ape TAG Conservation Initiative

IUCN Red List Status: Endangered

Launched in 2010, the AZA Ape TAG Conservation Initiative is focused on sustaining a future for one of the planet’s most imperiled animal groups – apes. Due to catastrophic population declines, it is estimated that some ape species will be extinct within 20 years. The initiative allows participating zoos to choose where their conservation contributions are spent among 8 field projects, one for each of the great apes species and two for gibbons and siamangs. In 2012, WPZ chose to support the following projects:

  • Securing the Future of Gorillas and Chimpanzees in a Changing Landscape: Goualougo Triangle Ape Project

  • Protection and Monitoring of Grauer’s Gorillas: Kahuzi Biega National Park

  • Population Mapping of Gibbons in Kalimantan, Indonesia: Correlates of Gibbon Density and Vegetation Across the Species Range




AZA Butterfly Conservation Initiative

IUCN Red List Status:  Pawnee Montane Skipper – Federally threatened; Taylor’s Checkerspot – Candidate for federal listing as threatened; Schaus Swallowtail – Federally endangered

The Butterfly Conservation Initiative is dedicated to the conservation of threatened, endangered and vulnerable North American butterflies and the habitats that sustain them, with a focus on recovery, research and education. The program is currently highlighting three specific programs: 2013 conservation mini-grants; monitoring of the federally endangered Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly; and completion and distribution of an educational brochure entitled “Monarch and Milkweeds.” Short term goals are to continue to develop new conservation partnerships, impact on the ground organism conservation and recovery programs for imperiled Lepidoptera, and provide resources and materials to help advance public understanding and awareness of butterflies.


Bat Conservation International

IUCN Red List Status:  Endangered

Bat Conservation International works with projects, partners, and programs around the globe to protect bats and their habitats, by integrating research, on-the-ground conservation actions, and conservation education to increase regional interest and investment. For many bat species, the absence of data is a profound concern – without documentation of value it is impossible to secure support for conservation; without population information it is hard to assess declines and prioritize conservation programming; and without understanding of each species’ needs for roosts, foraging and migration corridors it is challenging to design conservation plans that matter.


Egyptian Tortoise Conservation Program

IUCN Red List Status:  Endangered

The Egyptian tortoise is one of the smallest, most endangered, and least studied tortoises in the world. The long-term survival of the Egyptian tortoise requires addressing the threats of overgrazing of tortoise land by livestock, removal of woody vegetation, and pet collection. This multi-faceted approach to conservation involves the local Bedouin community patrolling for wildlife collectors, while gathering scientific data to study habitat restoration. Community members participate in a craft program that ensures a more sustainable source of income compared to wildlife exploitation. As a result of this community approach, three new small populations of the tortoise have been discovered along the boundary of the Zaranik Protected Area, north Sinai, Egypt.


Flamingo Research and Conservation in Southern South America

IUCN Red List Status:  Andean Flamingo – Vulnerable;  Chilean Flamingo – Near Threatened;  Puna Flamingo – Near Threatened

Flamingos are an umbrella species for wetland conservation because of the scale at which they use wetland resources. The overarching goal of The Grupo Conservacion Flamencos Altoandinos (GCFA) is to achieve sustainable and integrated conservation of wetlands of importance for flamingo conservation through the establishment of a regional network of priority sites. To do this, GCFA is conducting research, management, conservation, capacity development, and outreach activities at key sites throughout the distribution of Andean and Puna Flamingos. This WPZ supported project is focused on lowland wetlands in central Argentina.


The Center for Conservation of the Humboldt Penguin in Punta San Juan, Peru

IUCN Red List Status:  Vulnerable

Punta San Juan is home to more than 50% of the breeding population of Humboldt penguins in Peru. The center’s role is one of overseeing the transition of Punta San Juan from a supervised guano reserve to a marine reserve. Much activity has been focused on supporting the short-term protection of the reserve, development of sustainable guano harvesting methods and the collection of biological data including an annual penguin census and health assessment. The center also supports education initiatives directed toward local populations that address the plight of the Humboldt penguin and increase awareness of marine conservation issues.


International Elephant Foundation

IUCN Red List Status:  African Elephants – Threatened; Asian Elephants – Endangered

The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to elephant conservation, education and research. IEF funds worthy elephant conservation and research projects worldwide and encourages cooperation, capacity building and education through annual scholarships, workshops and symposia. IEF supported projects protect elephants from poaching, seek solutions for human-elephant conflict, equip and train community conservationists, increase our knowledge of the treatment and prevention of disease and education people. Established in 1998 by a group of zoos, circuses and other elephant care facilities to enhance and promote elephant conservation around the world, the board includes representatives from the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.


IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)

IUCN Red List Status:  1 Vulnerable, 3 Endangered

The IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG) is a scientific organization founded in 1980 as one of the 140 specialist groups of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC). The TSG is a global group dedicated to conserving tapirs and their habitat through strategic action-planning in countries where tapirs live, information sharing, and educational outreach that shows the importance of the tapir to local ecosystems and to the world at large. 


Lion SSP Conservation Campaign: Ruaha Carnivore Project

IUCN Red List Status:  Vulnerable

This project is conducted in the Ruaha landscape of central Tanzania, which covers more than 50,000 km2 and encompasses Ruaha National Park, Africa’s largest national park. The overall objectives of the Ruaha Carnivore Project are to: mitigate human conflict with lions and other large carnivores in the Ruaha landscape; collect vital baseline data on the ecology and populations of lions and other large carnivores in this ecosystem; and improve Tanzanian capacity in terms of large carnivore conservation. The goal: to work together with local communities and the Tanzanian authorities to develop effective conservation strategies for large carnivores in the globally important Ruaha landscape.


Partula Recovery and Reintroduction Project

IUCN Red List Status:  45 Species extinct, 11 Extinct in the wild, 9 Critically Endangered, 2 Vulnerable

The Partulid Global Species Management Programme is focused on the in situ conservation and management of Partula tree snails facing extinction after the introduction of the carnivorous Rosey wolfsnail, Euglandina rosea. Initialization of a reestablishment program, regular monitoring of remnant populations, and surveys to maintain up-to-date information of the status of the endemic species and the pest species is the focus of the project. The goal: to preserve and enhance the survival prospects of all surviving endemic tree snail species of the family partulidae within their natural range in French Polynesia, and to re-establish, where feasible, the 11 species that currently exist only in the international conservation breeding programs.


Population Monitoring of Komodo Dragons and Capacity Building in Komodo National Park 

IUCN Red List Status:  Vulnerable

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest monitor lizard, endemic to five islands in the Lesser Sunda region of Indonesia. Komodo dragons are found on the major islands of Flores, Komodo and Rinca, and on the islets of Nusa Kode and Gili Motang. Komodo dragon body size varies dramatically between islands, with the presence of dwarf and giant forms in part suggesting spatial variation in growth. The aim of the project is to collect demographic information on extant Komodo dragon populations to address conservation and management priorities. 


Red Panda Network

IUCN Red List Status:  Vulnerable

The Red Panda Network saves wild red pandas and preserves their habitat through the empowerment of local communities by adaptive community-based research, education, and carbon mitigation. Red panda are an indicator for the biodiversity integrity of the Eastern-Himalayan broadleaf forest landscape of the Nepalese region. They are facing a number of threats including forest fire; rotational grazing; slash and burn cultivation; timber and fire wood collection; predation by dogs, eagle, yellow throated marten, and leopard; natural bloom/death cycles of ringal bamboo species; drought; landslide, and lack of human awareness about conservation issues. RPN has taken the initiative to maintain a viable, stable, secure and healthy population of red panda distributed in contiguous appropriate habitat throughout its historical range in the PIT Corridor of Eastern Nepal by reducing threats with community-based natural resource management initiatives.


Sahara Conservation Fund’s (SCF) Saharan Red-Necked Ostrich Recovery Program in Niger

IUCN Red List Status:  Not listed, but extirpated across 95% of its former range

The North African race of the ostrich, Struthio camelus camelus, is one of the most threatened species on earth, having disappeared from over 95% of their former ranges. Once widespread across Northern Africa, its numbers have rapidly declined during the 20th Century and today only a handful are left in the wild.  In 2004, the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) started an ostrich conservation programme in Niger in close collaboration with the AZA Ratite TAG, with the objective of increasing the North African ostrich population in captivity for eventual release back into the wild. The AZA Ratite TAG has developed its Adopt-an-Ostrich Program to support the acquisition, care and feeding of pure-bred Saharan ostrich in Niger; to help maintain ostrich facilities; and to improve capacity for ostrich management.


Turtle Survival Alliance

IUCN Red List Status – Burmese Star Tortoise:  Critically Endangered

With 27 species, 7 of them endemic, Myanmar is truly a turtle diversity hotspot and ranks among the top five most important countries in Asia for turtle conservation. The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) Myanmar turtle conservation program is conducted in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and focuses on developing recovery programs for several of that country’s critically endangered endemic species, primarily the Burmese roof turtle, Batagur trivittata, and the Burmese star tortoise, Geochelone platynota – both functionally extinct in nature. Recognizing that future conservation efforts for Burmese star tortoises hinge on developing successful captive breeding programs to supply tortoises for eventual reintroduction into protected habitats, the TSA established new assurance colony facilities at Yadanabon Zoological Gardens (Mandalay), and at the Minsontaung and Lawkananda wildlife sanctuaries.


Visayan Warty Pig Conservation Programme (VWPCP)

IUCN Red List Status:  Critically Endangered

The VWPCP constitutes a key element in the Philippines Warty Pig Conservation Program (PWPCP), which is in turn part of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Programme (PBCP), which has been in continual operation since 1990. The PBCP otherwise comprises an integrated suite of diverse other threatened endemic species research and recovery programmes and regional biodiversity conservation programmes, developed and implemented in close collaboration with a suite of local, national and international conservation partner agencies. The main objectives of the VWPCP include preventing the (otherwise likely) extirpation of this species in the wild state (especially as a pure-bred form), enhancing its current conservation status through development and implementation of properly structured conservation research, breeding and reintroduction programmes, assisting and/or orchestrating enhanced protection and restoration activities in existing protected areas, and development of new protected areas also incorporating improved conservation management principles and practices.


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