Calls to Action, Accolades and Animals

I’m just back from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Directors’ Policy Conference in Miami. I’ll refrain from describing the weather down there—no need to rub it in—but I would like to recap the events at the conference.

What most stands out was a presentation about collection sustainability—how we are keeping zoo populations healthy and genetically diverse well into the future. This is a critical issue for zoos, and one that highlights the benefits of managing animals collectively the way AZA institutions do.
 
Other highlights from the conference include a presentation on green practices at Denver Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo Research Biologist Lisa Faust’s lecture on our Population Management Center, a world leader in the science of collection sustainability.
 
As a newly elected council member with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, I met with other members of the U.S. delegation to discuss improving cooperation between North American and European zoos.
 
And I’m happy to note that Lincoln Park Zoo was named at the conference among the top AZA zoos in funding field-conservation work.
 
Here in Chicago it may be frigid, but the zoo offers plenty of indoor getaways. The McCormick Bird House boasts a new species in the savanna exhibit—the white-headed buffalo weaver, a beautifully feathered bird that will add even more flashes of color to our Bird House.
 
I’ll keep you posted.
 
Sincerely,
Kevin Bell 

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