The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) held their Annual Conference and AGM in Belfast Zoological Gardens in June, where the theme was Partnerships and Participation. Presentations covered the cooperation both within the zoo world and with external organisations.
John Burton, CEO of the World Land Trust (WLT), in speaking at the conference, described WLT’s work with its project partners and explained how land purchase and protection of wildlife habitats was carried out. As part of WLT’s Wild Spaces Programme, BIAZA members are currently raising funds to pay for the creation of a reserve in the threatened Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil, where WLT works with Brazilian conservation organisation Reserva Ecologica De Guapi Assu (REGUA). Belfast Zoo, who hosted the conference, is participating in this conservation project together with 20 other BIAZA members, who collectively have raised over £90,000 for land purchase and protection for the ‘BIAZA Reserve’. These funds have helped REGUA to secure a 1,700 acre (833 ha) area of rainforest directly adjacent to already protected areas of forest. BIAZA member zoos are being encouraged to further support the protection and management of the reserve. Donations from member zoos can help cover rangers’ salaries and equipment (binoculars, uniforms and identification books), fences, bird hides and education supplies. More information on this second phase of fundraising will follow in upcoming months.
The BIAZA Reserve is an initiative of WLT’s Wild Spaces Programme. Wild Spaces offers zoos, aquariums and their associations an opportunity to help save wildlife in the wild. For further information on the BIAZA Reserve visit the WLT Wild Spaces pages