Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG)
Part of the IUCN – The World Conservation Union, it is the largest of over 120 specialist groups that make up the Species Survival Commission, one of six IUCN commissions.
CBSG assists zoos, aquariums and other organizations across the globe in developing their conservation programs. Through worldwide networks, CBSG conducts workshops to facilitate exchange of information between scientists, governments, local people, organizations and other stakeholders to reach agreement on important issues facing both humans and wildlife.
Like Zoo Conservation Outreach Group and SaveNature.org, this conservation program is one of the earliest recipients of support from Dickerson Park Zoo.
Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)
One of the more recent additions to the list of programs supported by Dickerson Park Zoo, the Turtle Survival Alliance formed in 2001 in response to the rampant and unsustainable harvest of Asian turtles to supply Chinese food markets annually, just one example of the scope of overharvesting threatening turtles throughout Asia. The TSA works in at least twelve countries to prevent extinction and promote recovery. TSA focuses on critically endangered species and works in range countries – especially those considered to be turtle diversity hotspots – to support field research and conservation while securing species in captivity as a guard against extinction in the wild.
Thanks to TSA, the rare Burmese roof turtle was rediscovered in 2002 and is now on the road to recovery due to aggressive nest protection and head starting. Over 240 specimens reside at a zoo in Mandalay.
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
The most recent addition to the zoo’s portfolio of field conservation support, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is dedicated to the conservation and protection of gorillas and their habitats in Africa.
Fewer than 800 mountain gorillas are left in the world, and the Grauer’s (eastern lowland) gorilla population in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is also endangered.
In Rwanda, the Karisoke Research Center protects gorillas daily in volcanoes National Park. In Congo, rangers receive support to protect gorillas at Virunga National Park on the eastern border with Rwanda; rescued gorillas are cared for at the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center. Rehabilitation of Maiko National Park is supported along with a network of community-managed reserves in a 42,000 square mile landscape linking Maiko and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks. In collaboration with government agencies and other international partners, assistance is provided to local communities in health, education, training and development. Research continues to be a strong focus, along with education.
Andean Bear Program
The Andean bear, also known as spectacled bear, it the only South American bear. It is endemic to a narrow strip of cloud forests, dry forests and high grasslands that stretch along the Andes.
Habitat loss and fragmentation are increasingly threatening these bears, bringing them into closer contact and conflict with people. Bears are killed in retaliation for damaged crops and livestock. Little is known about the ecology and distribution of this elusive species, which has impeded development of management plans.
ZCOG has partnered with the Andean Bear Foundation in Ecuador to help protect the Andean bear. Field research is being done in Ecuador’s Cayambe Coca National Park to improve scientific knowledge about the bears and form conservation strategies. ZCOB provides radio collars for monitoring the movement of bears.
Proyecto Tití is a conservation program begun in 1985 to assist in the long-term preservation of the cotton-top tamarin. The cotton-top tamarin, found only in a small area of northwestern Columbia, is one of the most endangered primates in the wild.
The program uses a multi-disciplinary approach, combining field research, assessment of habitat and community programs that involve local people in culturally relevant, action-based programs.
Making the conservation of natural habitats and resources economically feasible for local communities will ensure the survival of not only the cotton-top tamarins, but the native flora and fauna of Columbia.
Proyecto Tití is seen by some as a model for effective conservation programs in Columbia. The cotton-top tamarin can serve as a flagship species for the Conservation of Columbia’s natural resources. Funds are raised under the umbrella of Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN).
Giraffe Conservation Foundation
In 1998, giraffe were thought to number around 140,000 in the wild. That number is now estimated at 80,000. In the past 30 years, giraffe have become extinct in at least seven African countries. The decline is due to conversion of habitat to meet the needs of growing human populations and illegal hunting, for human consumption. Okapi numbers are thought to have declined by half.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is dedicated to securing a future for all giraffe populations and subspecies in the wild. They also work to conserve the okapi, the closest living relative to the giraffe.
Giraffe are found in savanna regions of 21 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Okapi are restricted to dense lowland rainforests of central and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Giraffe Conservation Foundation is currently supporting the first-ever detailed assessment of giraffe as a species, and all nine subspecies, with conservation activities occurring in ten African countries. It is anticipated that by some time in 2016, most, if not all, giraffe subspecies will be categorized as threatened. Okapi were recently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened and endangered species.
Chacoan Peccary Project
One of three species of peccaries, the Chacoan peccary was first described in 1930, based on fossils, and was thought to be extinct. In 1971 it was discovered to still be alive in the Chaco region of Argentina.
Endemic to a formerly isolated region of South America, it is vulnerable to human activity. Herd numbers are decreasing as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation. Their range is being transformed into large Texas-style ranches. Hunting also continues, as well as an unidentified disease that has affected the herds in recent years.
The Chacoan peccary Species Survival Plan supports a conservation management program in the Chaco of Paraguay at “Proyecto Tagua” The conservation site includes field pens for propagation of the three living forms of peccary and the protection of 180 hectare wildlife reserve adjacent to peccary field enclosures.