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April 18, 2016 Calgary Zoo

A Prize for the Environment: Dr. Axel Moehrenschlager lectures at St. Andrews

Dr. Axel Moehrenschlager is the zoo's Director of Conservation & Science.

The Calgary Zoo is paying a visit to St Andrews University in Scotland this week. What could we be up to? Why, we’re talking about conservation translocations (say that 5 times fast!)

Dr. Axel Moehrenschlager, the Calgary Zoo’s Director of Conservation & Science will be delivering the prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment lecture on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. As a scientist that is involved in conservation initiatives worldwide, including acting as the chair of the IUCN SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group, Dr. Moehrenschlager is honoured to be speaking to the residents of St Andrews about a topic that he believes so passionately in.

St Andrews University is not only known for their talented students, but also bestows an annual Prize for the Environment that honours significant contributions to environmental conservation. This prize draws incredible entries from organizations around the world, each year putting forth the best ideas in ecological ingenuity.

So what is conservation translocation? It is the intentional movement and release of a living organism, with the primary aim of furthering conservation. These efforts could involve moving an animal locally, or even globally, but also aiming to restore natural ecosystems. This substantial undertaking has focused on over 1000 species across the world.

Dr. Axel Moehrenschlager and John Cleese chat about the zoo's conservation work.

Dr. Axel Moehrenschlager and John Cleese chat about the zoo’s conservation work.

Axel believes that this process is crucial, as many endangered species cannot thrive in their natural habitats as threats to the world’s biodiversity continue to escalate. This growing pressure, alongside with improvements in science practices have made translocations a key tool to conserving the planets ecosystems.

Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Moehrenschlager and his dedicated peers, the Calgary Zoo continues to participate in conservation efforts on a global scale, to “[reach] beyond barriers to restore nature and hope.” Thanks must also go to our members and visitors; as part of the zoo family, they are helping us do so every day.


Every visit to the zoo contributes to our conservation work. Plan your visit here.

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