SPECIES SURVIVAL PLANS
WHAT ARE SPECIES SURVIVAL PLANS?
The Species Survival Plan (SSP), was organized in 1981 by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to help ensure the survival of species that are threatened or endangered in the wild. There are currently 450 SSP Programs, representing species that urgently need to be conserved and protected in the wild. The Species Survival Program consists of cooperative, coordinated breeding programs for captive endangered species throughout the world.
Species Survival Plans are not a substitute for preserving animals in nature but rather are a strategy for creating healthy, self-sustaining, captive populations that can be reintroduced into restored or secured habitats. The ultimate goal of the plan is to release healthy animals into the wild.
HOW IS THE EDMONTON VALLEY ZOO INVOLVED?
In 1992, the Edmonton Valley Zoo joined the International Species Survival Plan and is currently actively involved in these SSP Programs:
- Grevy’s Zebra
- Snow Leopards
- Siberian Tigers
- Red Pandas
- Laughing Kookaburra
- Callimico or Goeldi’s Monkeys (Canadian SSP)
- Golden Lion Tamarins
Many wild animal species are quickly becoming extinct. We must act now. To find out more, come visit us at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
“In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”Baba Dioum
RED PANDA NETWORK
WHAT IS THE RED PANDA NETWORK?
The Red Panda Network was founded in 1997, and is committed to the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of local communities.
Red Pandas are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ICUN) because their population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals.
HOW IS THE EDMONTON VALLEY ZOO INVOLVED?
For the past seven years, visitors to the Edmonton Valley Zoo have been getting to know Koko and Lala, the zoo’s adorable Red Pandas. Since their arrival from the Tokuyama Zoo in Japan, Koko and Lala have captivated the hearts of zoo guests and helped us to understand more about these special animals.
The Edmonton Valley Zoo Red Pandas are an important part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), as they are unrelated to other Red Pandas in North America. Thus, their genes are the most valuable within the population.
BREEDING… The breeding season for Red Pandas is from January through March, and initially, the Edmonton Valley Zoo animal care team was hopeful that Koko and Lala would breed. The fact that Red Pandas have delayed implantation, making the reproduction period between 90-120 days, made it difficult to predict when cubs could be expected.
When initial breeding efforts were not successful, the team began increasing their knowledge of Red Panda husbandry and breeding by contacting several other zoos and the Species Survival Plan coordinator for advice. Thanks to the rigorous research the team undertook, the Edmonton Valley Zoo was successful.
When zoo staff realized that Lala was due to give birth, countless hours were spent watching footage from camera’s installed in the habitat. Staff worked to note any unusual behaviours. Eventually, a cub was born. Initially, it appeared that Lala would be a good mother. However, she soon started to overgroom her cub and not let it nurse. Just as the care team prepared to intervene and take the baby for hand-raising, she suddenly turned on her baby. The team was moments too late to save the cub.
Realizing that Lala was not a good mother, the decision was made to hand-raise any babies she would have in the future. The zoo’s care team has been successful in raising six offspring over the last four years. These offspring now live in various zoos across North America and are adding their valuable genetics to the population.
The Edmonton Valley Zoo has educated thousands of zoo guests to the plight of these animals by allowing guests an up close view through encounters and interpretive talks.
KNOWLEDGE… The knowledge the experts at the Edmonton Valley Zoo have gained, has allowed them to become recognized in the Species Survival Plan community as experts in Red Panda husbandry. To expand on that knowledge and expertise, the Edmonton Valley Zoo has taken up the cause to protect and conserve these animals within their native habitat. To reach our conservation goals, a fundraising initiative is being developed not only to reach zoo visitors but also to partner with Zoo School to help raise awareness amongst children.
The donations received from the campaign will be administered by the Red Panda Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the Panda’s habitat and educating the people of Nepal. The Edmonton Valley Zoo looks forward to working with this organization to create a greater awareness and appreciation for Red Pandas and their habitat amongst zoo visitors. Donations are graciously accepted and can be made by contacting the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
MAKIRA CONSERVATION FUND
The Edmonton Valley Zoo offers individuals and groups the opportunity to directly support conservation programs through donations to the Makira Conservation Fund Initiative, which was launched in 2007 to celebrate the opening of the new lemur habitat at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
Makira is a forest region in Madagascar, which is home to many lemur species, thus making it a focus of lemur conservation efforts. The lemur habitat at the zoo was named the Makira Outpost, in honour of this special forest region.
The launch of the Makira Conservation Fund Initiative signaled the growth and development of many conservation programs at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Throughout the year, funds for this and other programs, are collected via donations, special events, and Eco-cell, the Zoo’s cell phone recycling program.
To find out how you can support the Valley Zoo Development Society and Edmonton Valley Zoo with these efforts, visit our support page.
POLAR BEARS INTERNATIONAL
The Edmonton Valley Zoo is a Polar Bears International Arctic Ambassador Centre (AAC).
Arctic Ambassador Centres are organizations endorsed by leading polar bear scientists, the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for actively engaging in saving polar bear habitat through greenhouse gas reductions within their organizations and their communities.
As an AAC, the Edmonton Valley Zoo works together with Polar Bears International to inform, inspire, and empower others to take immediate steps to reduce CO2 for the conservation of polar bear habitat and other species impacted by a warming world.
The construction of the new Arctic Shores exhibit at the Edmonton Valley Zoo is just one part of fulfilling this commitment. Visitors can view Arctic species up close while participating in educational programs related to climate change and conservation of polar environments.
Together, we can make a difference.
FOCUS ON ARCTIC BIODIVERSITY
Biodiversity provides us with the water, food, and the clean air that we need to survive. A variety of life is essential in all ecosystems which is why the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) is focusing on Canada’s Arctic. As a member of CAZA, the Edmonton Valley Zoo is proud to contribute to educating people about Arctic biodiversity and how we can help protect it.
Increased pollution, warming climate and melting ice has lead to increasingly unstable conditions in the Arctic. These changes threaten the plants, animals, and people that live there. Though the Arctic may seem bare, it is the home to a vast community of wildlife — from tiny plankton to huge whales. Millions of birds migrate to the Arctic every year from all over the world to breed, nest, and raise their young.
WHAT IS THE EDMONTON VALLEY ZOO’S ROLE?
The Edmonton Valley Zoo and the Valley Zoo Development Society have completed Phase 1 of the zoos new Arctic habitat, Polar Extremes: Arctic Shores, and is currently in the process of fundraising for Phase 2. When complete, Edmontonians will be able to experience a piece of Canada’s Arctic and understand the importance of arctic biodiversity.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
You can help protect biodiversity by:
- Using less water and keeping it clean
- Conserving energy
- Eating responsibly
- Recycling and composting
- Growing native plants
- Visiting and supporting CAZA zoos and aquariums
- Living environmentally responsible can and will help reduce the impact on biodiversity around the world
To learn more about Arctic biodiversity visit ourarctic.ca.
SAVE THE FROGS
In 2008, The Edmonton Valley Zoo joined the international initiative ‘Year of the Frog’ to help keep frogs from going extinct. Addressing the amphibian extinction crisis represents one of the greatest species conservation challenge in the history of mankind. It is estimated that one-third to one-half of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Hundreds of species face threats that cannot be mitigated in the wild, they require zoos to save them in the short term until adequate conservation measures to secure wild populations can be developed.
To this day, conservation work at the Edmonton Valley Zoo continues.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
To help support the conservation of frogs, try adopting one of our amphibian friends! Adoption packages start at only $50.00 and include:
- An Adoption Certificate
- An Informative Animal Fact Sheet
- An Unframed 4×6 Photo of Your Adopted Animal
- An Invitation for TWO to the Next Annual Parent Appreciation Event
Click here to check out our many adoption packages.
SNOW LEOPARD TRUST
The Valley Zoo Development Society strives for “best” green practices in event production, administrative practices, and in the operation of the Edmonton Valley Zoo Gift Shop, the Zoo-tique.
We partner with the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s conservation initiatives by providing a market for sustainable and handcrafted products from the Snow Leopard Trust through our gift shop. The sale of these products increases the income of rural families coexisting with the snow leopards in their natural habitat.
To learn more about the Snow Leopard Trust, including what countries they operate in and the initiatives they are using to protect the snow leopard, visit www.snowleopard.org.
Lucy, the Valley Zoo’s resident Asian elephant, began painting in the early 1990’s. Originally introduced as a simple method of enriching her life, painting soon grew into a way for Lucy to express herself. She is now among the dozens of elephants around the world who showcase their art in top galleries. Each piece is very different, but they all show similar lines, circles, and dabs. Lucy definitely has her own style! The Valley Zoo is proud of Lucy’s success and will continue to encourage her growth as an artist.
For more information on the International Elephant Foundation and their efforts to ensure the long-term survival of elephants, visit elephantconservation.org.
96 ELEPHANTS ARE KILLED IN AFRICA EVER DAY.
Through 96 Elephants, The Wildlife Conservation Society is working with partners around the clock, and around the globe, to help save elephants. From the forests of Africa, to the ivory shops in New York, they’re working tirelessly to stop the killing, trafficking, and demand for ivory.
Though the Valley Zoo Development Society is not currently a member of 96 Elephants, we do make an annual donation to this great cause.
To learn more about 96 Elephants, and how you can help take a stand, visit 96elephants.org.