For Release: June 20, 2008
Pamela Baker-Masson (202) 633-3084
Sarah Taylor (202) 633-2081
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), in cooperation with The Giant Panda Conservation Foundation (GPCF), today joined the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzhong, in announcing a $165,000 donation to the China Wildlife Conservation Association to support post-earthquake panda conservation.
“Accredited zoos are essential to the conservation of the giant panda,” said Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong. “We are grateful for this assistance and for the strong conservation partnership with zoos in the United States.”
The joint fundraising effort of AZA and GPCF will assist reconstruction efforts at panda conservation facilities in Wolong and Chenghdu after the devastating affects of the earthquakes in Sichuan Province where they are located. These facilities experienced significant damage and the staff has met with significant hardship, requiring urgent assistance to support their ability to care for the highly endangered giant panda population.
“I am proud that AZA members rose to the occasion to help our international partners recover,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “We will continue to support China in this important mission.”
AZA-accredited institutions making significant contributions include: Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, Virginia Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Zoo Atlanta, Memphis Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens, Zoo New England, and Audubon Zoo.
Through research, education, and conservation efforts, AZA-accredited zoos have played a major role in the Giant Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is a program that develops population management and conservation plans for imperiled species in the care of accredited zoos and aquariums.
“The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is dedicated to the recovery of the giant panda,” said National Zoo Director John Berry. “We support our dedicated colleagues in China, and invite the public to make an online donation at http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas.”