Got conservation on the brain? So does Dr. Axel!

Oct 09, 2015

We here at the Calgary Zoo are working hard to fulfill our vision- to be Canada's leader in wildlife conservation! 

We work locally with whooping cranes, Vancouver Island marmots, black-tailed prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets, burrowing owl, swift fox, sage grouse and leopard frogs, and abroad with hippos, Humboldt penguins, lemurs… and more. Our conservation work also extends through the work of our zookeepers, who care for many animals in Species Survival Plans (SSP’s) that keep the genetic populations of endangered species healthy and thriving.

Dr. Axel Moehrenschlager, who is the Calgary Zoo’s Director of Conservation & Science is involved in conservation initiatives worldwide, including acting as the chair of the IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group.

This group enables and promotes responsible endangered species reintroductions around the world through consulting experts in over 50 countries! At a recent IUCN leader meeting in the United Arab Emirates, Axel co-chaired three significant workshops, engaging many iconic conservationists for species such as sea horses, grouse, antelopes, rhinos, tigers, and Great Apes.

Some important conclusions were reached to help determine future goals. They were:

1. Reintroductions need to be incorporated into key international conventions for biodiversity conservation.

2. Increasing training of conservationists in developed and developing countries will yield even more responsible reintroduction programs. 

3. More species-specific reintroduction guidelines will increase further impacts in the wild. 

4. Guidelines must be finalized regarding the possible ‘De-Extinction’ of species such as mammoths and the passenger pigeon.  

We plan to continue to enable relevant actions in these areas, so even more species can be saved across the globe. This is just another sign of how the zoo is pursuing its vision of being Canada’s leader in wildlife conservation!  

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If you want to learn more about the zoo's current conservation projects, check them out here and support us!