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.
The 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.
As holders of both the EEP and the International studbook for Pallas’s cats, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has been dedicated to the population management, research and the conservation of the species for several years. Continuing on from previous field support projects for Pallas’s cats the RZSS formed a partnership project with Nordens Ark and the Snow leopard Trust in 2015 to further develop conservation and research efforts for the species. After receiving funding from Fondation Segre in early 2016 this partnership formed the Pallas’s cat International Conservation Alliance – PICA. PICA is the first global conservation project for the species and has four key objectives: Improve knowledge of distribution and monitoring techniques, increase knowledge on basic ecology to aid targeted conservation plans, raise awareness and conservation capacity and design strategies for a global conservation plan.
With two of the three founding partners being zoological collections and the ongoing support of PICA by numerous International zoos from Japan, North America and Europe the project prides itself, as one of many elements, on connecting ex situ and in situ conservation and research efforts.
With activities including camera trapping research and analysis, threat surveys, education campaigns, field support projects and strategic conservation planning with the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group PICA is implementing a multi-functional approach. With both a status review and the first global conservation action planning workshop coming in 2018 PICA is set to continue in developing targeted strategies to aid Pallas’s cat conservation.
Picture credit: A. Sliwa