The Annual Conference and AGM of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the launchpad for a ground breaking partnership that will save some of the most endangered rainforest in the World.
The Conference is being held from 17-20 May in Oulton Broad, and is attended by representatives of all the leading zoos and aquaria. Already 18 members have pledged between them over £150,000 towards this project which will be carried out by Suffolk-based, World Land Trust, and its overseas partners in Brazil, to save an area of critically threatened Atlantic rainforest, north of Rio de Janeiro. The Atlantic rainforests are home to some 8,000 species of plants found nowhere else in the world, as well as 14 unique primates and 144 bird species; and since around 93% of this habitat has already been destroyed, saving what is left of this biodiversity hotspot is a top priority.
The new "BIAZA" reserve, covering 1500 hectares, will connect two existing reserves and thereby create a larger reserve area for wide ranging species, such as the jaguar, to roam and breed in safety. The reserve will also be used for reintroduction programmes for species that have become extinct in the past due to hunting and loss of habitat.
With a target of at least £250,000 over the next three years, it is anticipated that more zoos will pledge their support for this joint in situ and ex situ conservation programme. Dr Miranda Stevenson, the Director of BIAZA said: "We are very enthusiastic about this project, because it shows that zoos and aquariums can play an important role in conserving wildlife not only in zoos, but also in the wild".
- BIAZA is the professional body representing the best zoos and aquariums in Britain and Ireland and is a conservation, education and scientific wildlife charity, No. 248553.
- Further information about BIAZA can be found on the website: www.biaza.org.uk. Alternatively, email Dr Miranda Stephenson on email@example.com or call +44 (0) 207 449 6520.
- World Land Trust is an international conservation charity, No. 1001291, set up to raise funds for the purchase and protection of threatened wildlife and their habitats. Founded in 1989, the WLT has helped save over 350 000 acres of endangered habitats worldwide, including tropical rainforests, Patagonian coastal steppe, mangroves and coral reefs. Patrons: Sir David Attenborough CH, FRS and David Gower, OBE
- Further information about the World Land Trust can be found on our website: www.worldlandtrust.org (the latest press releases can be found on: www.worldlandtrust.org/news/press-releases.htm). Alternatively, email John A Burton on JAB@worldlandtrust.org or call +44 (0) 1986 874 422.