Thursday, 01 October 2020 11:57

North Carolina Zoo recognized with honors through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for conservation

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Dr. Corinne Kendall, Curator of Conservation and Research for the North Carolina Zoo  On location in Tanzania, Africa with a tagged vulture. Dr. Corinne Kendall, Curator of Conservation and Research for the North Carolina Zoo On location in Tanzania, Africa with a tagged vulture. N.C. Zoo

ASHEBORO —The North Carolina Zoo is pleased to announce it received an award and two grants through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums at is its annual conference in September. 


The AZA awarded the North Carolina Zoo the prestigious 2020 William G. Conway International Conservation Award of Significant Achievement for the Southern Tanzania Vulture Monitoring and Conservation Project; this project is coordinated by the Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. The William G. Conway Award recognizes exceptional efforts toward habitat preservation, species restoration, and biodiversity support in the wild.  

The Southern Tanzania project for the conservation of African vultures is led by Curator of Conservation and Research Dr. Corinne Kendall for the North Carolina Zoo. In addition, this project was awarded an AZA Conservation Grant to continue its work in saving this critically endangered species. On-going efforts in Tanzania since 2014 have helped to reduce poisoning incidents, a major threat to vultures, and continuous monitoring of over 20 vultures tagged by the project help to provide real-time information that is used to address threats.

The AZA awarded the North Carolina Zoo another Conservation Grant for the Sulu Hornbill Conservation Program. The Zoo's Director of Animal Management & Welfare, Roger Sweeney, leads this newly created conservation project to save one of the world's rarest and most endangered bird species: the Sulu hornbill. The hornbill species is native to the Philippines with a wild population that likely numbers fewer than 40 animals. 

 "Our conservation programs are a great example of how the Zoo works both here in North Carolina and globally in saving species,” said North Carolina Zoo Director Pat Simmons. "I'm excited that AZA recognizes this through awards and grants that will enable our staff to continue their efforts." 

Established in 1984, the AZA Conservation Grant Fund is a competitive program that supports AZA members and their partners' initiatives. After a competitive review of 70 applications, only 13 projects were chosen for funding in 2020, two of them for the North Carolina Zoo.  

"Despite a global pandemic and declining revenues, AZA-accredited facilities continue to work tirelessly on conservation projects around the world," said President and CEO of AZA Dan Ashe. "There is no doubt AZA members remain focused on making this a better world for people and wildlife."