Zoos and aquariums play a vital role in biodiversity conservation by raising awareness of conservation issues, maintaining collections of endangered species and supporting conservation in the wild. The Wild Spaces programme of World Land Trust (WLT) offers zoos, aquariums and their associations an opportunity to help save wild creatures in their natural habitat.
An exciting aspect of Wild Spaces is the collaboration between WLT and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), who work in partnership to raise funds through BIAZA members and their visitors to support conservation in the wild.
In 2014 BIAZA and its members are concentrating their fundraising efforts on protecting land in Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in Central Mexico. To achieve this, BIAZA will work in partnership with WLT to enable Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG), WLT’s conservation partner in Mexico, to purchase land in urgent need of protection.
BIAZA and its members have previously supported GESG through the BIAZA Keepers of the Wild, but in 2014 the focus is land purchase. BIAZA initially aimed to raise £10,000 by the end of the year to fund the purchase of 100 acres in urgent need of protection. However, when the £10,000 target was met in mid 2014, the end of year target was increased to £20,000.
Sierra Gorda is an area of wonderful ecological diversity with an extraordinary range of vegetation including evergreen and deciduous tropical forest, shrubs and cacti, oak forests, pine forests and cloud forests. Sierra Gorda is home to more than 300 bird species and more than 100 mammal species such as Jaguars, Black Bears and Neotropical Otters.
Land Purchase: The BIAZA Reserve, Brazil
Between 2007 and 2010, BIAZA members raised over £124,000 towards the purchase of 1,651 acres (668 hectares) of Atlantic forest, or Mata Atlântica. Known as the BIAZA Reserve, this property is now owned, protected and managed by WLT's project partner REGUA.
With only 7 per cent of the original Atlantic Forest remaining, the creation of the BIAZA Reserve is a great conservation success.
Following successful land purchase, the next phase of the programme was to ensure the future protection of the reserve. Between 2010 and 2012, BIAZA members donated towards funding two reserve rangers to protect the Guapi Assu Reserve.
BIAZA Keepers of the Wild was launched at the BIAZA AGM in June 2012. This programme supported rangers in four project areas, working through WLT's overseas partners in Brazil, Borneo, Armenia and Mexico. Funding was used to support full and part-time ranger salaries, uniforms and vital equipment until the end of 2013.
Reserve ranger, Abel Reséndiz, was supported by WLT's Keepers of the Wild programme. He works for our Mexico partner, GESG, to protect nature reserves in the remote wilds the Sierra Gorda mountain range. Abel no longer has to work as a migrant in the USA thanks to his first secure job with GESG. Abel said: "I feel proud of my work because we are protecting special places that were being destroyed or were under pressure from logging, ranching, frequent wildfires and poachers."
Funds raised through BIAZA Keepers of the Wild enabled ongoing and increased monitoring and protection for reserves already owned by WLT project partners. Rangers shared their photographs, stories and experiences in the field with BIAZA members through updates provided by WLT.
More information on the Wild Spaces Programme
- Photos of REGUA on Wildlife Focus »
- Videos of Brazil on Wildlife Focus »
- Wild Spaces Programme News »
- Supporters of the Wild Spaces Programme »
More information for Zoos and Aquariums
For more information about Wild Spaces and ways in which WLT can help you develop and achieve your conservation targets, please contact us.