Posted In Conservation | 11th October 2023

New Conservation Position Statement Launched by IUCN SSC

This week marks a significant milestone for zoos, botanic gardens, and aquariums across the globe as the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) officially published a new position statement which recognises the significant contributions these organisations ‘can, and do, bring’ to the conservation of wild animals, fungi, and plants.

The IUCN SSC, with over 8,500 volunteer experts from almost every country of the world, is one of the foremost authorities on species conservation across the globe. The introduction of this new position statement is an important step in the mission to save biodiversity as it is the first time the IUCN SSC has formally recognised the key work that zoos, aquariums, and botanic gardens do for the conservation of threatened species. The management of threatened species in zoos and aquariums, funding of conservation work in the wild and educating visitors on biodiversity are examples of the core conservation contributions made by these organisations that are now recognised and valued under this position statement.

Also highlighted are calls for organisations to work together as part of a global network under the ‘One Plan Approach’ to realise and reach full conservation potential, from the breeding of threatened species to data sharing. The ‘One Plan Approach’ to species conservation involves a working on management strategies and conservation actions to support populations of different species, both inside and outside of its natural range. In practice, this could involve field biologists monitoring wild populations with the aim of developing conservation strategies and actions, while zoos and aquariums actively work towards long-term goals to support and sustain populations in the wild.

You can find out more about the IUCN SSC Position Statement here.

Commenting on the publication of this position statement, Dr Andrew Mooney, Conservation and Research Officer at Dublin Zoo, said:

‘This position statement is impactful as it outlines the variety of ways in which zoos can contribute to conservation. At Dublin Zoo, our purpose is to save wildlife and inspire a passion for nature. We have achieved substantial conservation impact through our involvement in the breeding of threatened species, our support for conservation and research projects in the wild, and our conservation education and advocacy work.’

‘However, we are now facing a global biodiversity crisis, with more than one million species now threatened with extinction. In response, our approach to conservation is constantly evolving and in 2022, we released our Conservation Master Plan which reflects our continued commitment to conservation. This plan outlines how we will work with partners both in Ireland and around the world, including the IUCN SSC to achieve measurable conservation impact and prevent extinctions.’

To date, Dublin Zoo’s conservation work includes:

  • Since 2000, we have contributed €1.7 million to conservation and research efforts around the world.
  • We support nearly 30 conservation partners in Ireland and around the world. These partners work across more than 20 different countries, directly conserving more than 30 threatened species. Many of these species can be seen at Dublin Zoo, such as the white-naped mangabey, scimitar-horned oryx, Bornean orangutan, and southern white rhino.
  • More than half of the species at Dublin Zoo are part of internationally managed conservation breeding programmes. Dublin Zoo staff coordinate the international conservation breeding programmes for three different species – grey wolf, Goeldi’s monkey and citron-crested cockatoo.

To find out more about Dublin Zoo’s conservation work, visit this page, where you can read more about our conservation partners and the work they are doing to save species.