EAZA members work from the assumption that we can, and are obliged, to do whatever is possible to protect nature, both in the field and in our institutions
In recent years, our effect on the planet has been devastating, with a massive decline in animal numbers and habitats across the globe. EAZA has never believed that keeping animals in our institutions replaces action in the wild - but experience also shows us that the knowledge and finance that we and our visitors can provide to field conservation projects can make a huge difference. EAZA believes that zoos and aquariums form one pillar of the structure that is needed to safeguard the future. Our approach to species conservation, called the One Plan approach, recognises that zoos and in situ conservationists need not only to work together to protect animals, but also to engage the public of their communities to take the lead in demanding action from authorities, governments, corporations and themselves so that together we can reduce the stress on endangered species and their habitats.
In short, EAZA believes that the future of nature depends on all of us; and that EAZA zoos and aquariums can act as a portal for their local communities into conservation across the world.
he EAZA Conservation Database is an online tool to facilitate and coordinate cooperation and communication on conservation efforts of our members within as well as outside of the zoo and aquarium community. Each month we highlight one of the projects or activities from the database.
Sea Turtles of São Tomé and Príncipe islands
São Tomé and Príncipe is an archipelago located in West Africa where five species of marine turtle occur, being a nesting area for four of them: Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). The Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) uses the archipelago exclusively as part of its oceanic habitat.
The current conservation status of these species combined with a very consistent, solid team and project, were all critical factors contributing to Oceanário de Lisboa’s decision to support “Conservation programs of sea turtles in Sao Tomé and Príncipe Islands". Oceanário de Lisboa's support began in 2013 and the results have been extremely positive to date: the number of monitored beaches has been continuously increasing each year; approximately 400 female turtles have been tagged; over 40 turtles have been rescued from local markets; almost 800 nests were recorded (from which around 50 % were transferred to incubation centres); and over 22,000 recently hatched turtles have been released into the sea. Additionally, local education initiatives have been promoted; local community members have been integrated in the team; and scientific and technical support has been provided to all stakeholders, partners and local governmental institutions.
(Photo credit: Ana Besugo)