Press Room

  • January 15, 2021 8:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The ZAA Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence recognizes excellence in the area of new and unique live animal display, exhibit design and construction. The Zoological Association of America’s 2020 Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence is being presented to the Frank Buck Zoo for upgrading and re-purposing their porcupine enclosure to provide a unique live animal display for black tailed prairie dogs.  The new exhibit includes keepers the ability to provide improved health care, training, and reproductive management; a  larger, more engaging footprint for the animals; and an exhibit length glass viewing window for the visitors.


    Award presentation: https://youtu.be/TYmBB6mIJiU

  • January 14, 2021 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ZAA In-Situ Conservation Award recognizes significant contributions to enhancing the conservation of an animal species in nature.  It is with great honor that ZAA awards the 2020 In Situ award to the Dakota Zoo for their work with black-footed ferrets.

    Since 2013 the Dakota Zoo has assisted Prairie Wildlife Research and staff from the National Grasslands with spotlighting, capturing, vaccinating, microchipping, and rereleasing black-footed ferrets in the Conata Basin of South Dakota. In all they have committed $65,000 in labor, fuel and equipment expenses. A significant grant from Dakota Zoo funded the purchase of a “Laboratory on Wheels” that is used for field work with the ferrets. Dakota Zoo has set aside a portion of their paid admission and memberships towards their conservation fund and developed an interactive kiosk in their Discovery Center for visitors to understand how the conservation funds help wildlife. 

    Award presentation: https://youtu.be/n18IWPKKzG4

  • January 13, 2021 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The ZAA Educational Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding achievement and innovation in education program design and implementation. The Zoological Association of America’s 2020 Educational Award of Excellence is awarded to the Cougar Mountain Zoo for their outstanding achievement and innovation in education program design and implementation of the Zoo2U Education Series.  The Zoo2U debuted in March 2020, offering regularly scheduled educational videos and live streams on various wildlife and conservation topics free of charge via social media.   The Zoo2U programs created an outreach connection to a worldwide audience to view and engage in the challenges to wildlife species.

    Award Presentation:  https://youtu.be/tnCuSJ56MNo

  • January 12, 2021 8:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Ex Situ Conservation Award recognizes excellence in captive care, welfare and propagation of animal species in captivity, as a hedge against extinction. The Zoological Association of America is proud to present the 2020 Ex Situ Conservation Award to the San Antonio Zoo for their work with five species of endangered, critically endangered, and extinct in the wild Mexican freshwater fish. The five species are the Minckley’s Cichlid (Endangered), Tequila Splitfin (Endangered), San Marcos Redtail Splitfin (Critically Endangered), La Palma Pupfish (Extinct in the Wild), and Charco Palma Pupfish (Extinct in the wild).
         Director of Ectotherms San Antonio Zoo, Craig Pelke, said the award was received for the aquarium department’s work and success with the reproduction of fish species all of which range from a designation of endangered to extinct in the wild.
         “The goal of the program was to reproduce the species to maintain assurance populations,” said Pelke. “Two species are currently extinct in the wild, but there are potential plans to reestablish their numbers. The other three species have extremely limited ranges in single water bodies that are in peril.”
         President & CEO San Antonio Zoo, Tim Morrow praised the team’s diligence and dedication to the program through one of the most tumultuous years in recent history. While the coronavirus pandemic challenged zoo operations, the aquarium team stood fast and held to the zoo’s core mission, to secure a future for wildlife in Texas and abroad.
         “I am honored to have them representing our entire zoo crew,” said Morrow. “We live by the tenets to love, engage with, act for, and protect all forms of wildlife, and what our aquarium department accomplished this year is nothing less than spectacular. Through unprecedented hardship, they carried the torch of conservation high for all to see, lighting the way for others to follow.”
         Pelke echoed those sentiments and stated how proud he is of the team’s accomplishments. The zoo’s aquarium crew worked diligently to contribute to these conservation programs. While their success was apparent in the reproduction of the fish in this program, Pelke feels the award validates their hard work.
         “I am very proud of my staff and their accomplishments,” said Pelke. “I pass along my vision and direction for the department, and they carry out the mission and see it through. They are a very focused and solution-minded team, and success is obvious in their results.”

    Award presentation: https://youtu.be/NbyY-h6BSq4

  • January 11, 2021 8:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



    This award recognizes institutions that have reached significant propagation goals and have dedicated outstanding commitment to a single species.   ZAA is thrilled to present the Long Term Commitment and Significant Propagation of a Single Species Award to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center for their work with addax. Fossil Rim has housed addax since 1970. With a main herd that currently consists of 50+ animals living on 400+ acres, Fossil Rim has recorded over 700 births!

    Some of the many accomplishments during the past 50 years include: Assisted in DNA analysis and herd management for multiple male groups, worked on artificial insemination projects, body conditioning studies, modeled numerous population scenarios, and focused for a paper on blood parameters.  Fossil Rim also participated in the release of a pilot group of 15 Addax in Chad.

    Award presentation:  https://youtu.be/-EUVxOYoXPw

  • January 09, 2021 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Register for the ZAA Professional Development Webinars

    January 18 - A Discussion about Poop Soup: The Case for Transfaunation
    February 15 -
    When You Want to Get Furious, Get Curious: The Cliffnotes for Crucial Conversations

    The webinars are free for ZAA members.  Not a member? Join today!

    Watch the calendar for future webinars.
  • January 09, 2021 3:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Due to the uncertainty of travel and availability of committee members to attend, ZAA has canceled the in-person meeting and instead will be having virtual Committee Meetings in March 2021.  The committee meeting schedule will be posted soon.

  • November 05, 2020 3:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ZAA Journal, Fall 2020 is available online.

    Articles inside this issue:

    • The COVID-19 Impact on Conservation
    • Anoa, Banteng and Babirusa: Working Together to Conserve Charismatic Indonesian Species from Extinction
    • ZAA Accredited Facilities Assist with Addax Reintroduction
    • The America Red Wolf: Politics, Ethics, and Advocacy
  • November 03, 2020 2:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Register for the ZAA Professional Development Webinars

    November 16 - An Alphabetic Guide for Building a Successful Animal Welfare Program
    December 2 - Lobbying: It Only Hurts If You Don't Do It
    December 14 - So You Want to Work at the Zoo: Skills to Make Your Resume and Interview Stand Out
    January 6 - Tabletop Drills: Practicing Your Emergency Preparedness Exercises Within a Single Room

    The webinars are free for ZAA members.  Not a member? Join today!

    Watch the calendar for future webinars.

  • October 13, 2020 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ZAA 2021 award applications are available.  Submission deadline is July 31, 2021.  Applications open to ZAA members.

    Award categories:
    Excellence in Breeding
    In Situ Conservation
    Ex Situ Conservation
    Educational Award of Excellence
    Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence
    Comprehensive Immersion Exhibits
    Long-Term Commitment and Significant Propagation of a Single Species

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