Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Reports Collective $160 Million Annual Contribution to Wildlife Conservation

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced today that AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums contribute approximately $160 million per year to wildlife conservation with projects supporting more than 2,650 conservation projects in 130 countries.

“AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are global leaders in wildlife conservation,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “While AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums provide great care to animals in their facilities, they are also working around the world to make a positive impact for many imperiled species.”

Locally, efforts by the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI) are made possible by the Tennessee Aquarium – an AZA-accredited organization.

Tennessee has the richest freshwater fauna of any state in the United States with over 320 fish species living in our waters. Sadly, 87 of these species are considered endangered, threatened or of special management concern. In 2006, Anna George, an ichthyologist whose research focus is in population genetics of freshwater fishes, joined TNACI as the third director. Under her direction, TNACI has developed many research projects investigating population health and evolutionary pathways for southeastern fish. In addition to research, TNACI is also involved in habitat assessments and restoration projects as well as monitoring efforts for imperiled species.

TNACI scientists Kathlina Alford and Anna George
A recent TNACI focus is the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout. Last October, TNACI began a propagation study of the brook trout, funded by a grant from the National Fish & WildlifeFoundation. Adult brood stock were collected from Hampton Cove Creek and brought back to TNACI where gametes were stripped and eggs were fertilized. The baby brook trout that hatched from the eggs are currently growing strong and will be released in August back into the river from which their parents were caught. 

The Southern Appalachian Brook Trout is the only
species of trout native to Tennessee.
Information and updates can be found on TNACI’s website at www.tnaci.org or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tennesseeaquariumconservationinstitute


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