regional & International conservation efforts

Making a difference across the country and around globe.

Sloth Institute Costa Rica

The Sloth Institute‘s mission is to enhance and expand the welfare and conservation of sloths. The Institute also focuses on the research, education and release of hand-raised sloths back to the rainforest.

Lion Pride Alliance

The Pride Lion Conservation Alliance leads efforts in four key lion ranges in Africa, researching and protecting 20 percent of Africa’s existing wild lion population. The Virginia Zoo donated $5,000 to the Pride Lion Conservation Alliance in 2017 after a naming contest for cub Emery.

New Nature Foundation

The New Nature Foundation and Virginia Zoo partnered together to apply for the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Nature Connect Grant. This $15,000 grant, along with an additional $10,000 donated by the Zoo, supports new projects at the Fort Portal Science Center in Uganda that enhance the connection of kids and their families to the natural world.

Species Survival Plans

SSPs look at breeding animals in captivity to create a healthy safety net should populations in the wild diminish or go extinct. In order to accomplish this, scientists from Taxon Advisory Groups (TAG), under the supervision of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), look at the genetic diversity of a species as well as compatibility of personalities, age and experience to determine which animals would breed well together.

There are currently nearly 500 SSP Programs, each managed by their corresponding TAGs within AZA. Each is responsible for developing a comprehensive population Studbook and a Breeding and Transfer Plan which identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population of a species.

Polillo Islands Conservation Program

Implemented a new landscape level biodiversity monitoring program for the Polillo group of islands in partnership with the islands’ biodiversity conservation foundation and with partner support from other US zoos.

Union Island Gecko Conservation Program

Collaborate with Flora & Fauna international and the Forestry Departing in of St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands to create a comprehensive five-year conservation action plan for the critically endangered Union Island gecko.

Wildlife Management

The Virginia Zoo implemented an international training grant with the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums (WAZA) to provide a wildlife management training course focusing on building capacity for animal care professionals and provincial veterinarians in the Philippine Islands. This series of workshops included improving animal welfare, nutrition, wildlife rescue and the development of regional synergies.