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Zoos are vital in the fight to bring our planet back to life

12/10/2023 in RZSS

Last month, the State of Nature report confirmed there was no let-up in the decline of Scotland’s wildlife. This trend is reflected at a global scale, and more than a million species are at risk of extinction worldwide. 

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has pledged to reverse the decline of at least 50 species as part of our 2030 strategy, and this is why we are delighted to see the recent IUCN Species Survival Commission Position Statement on the Role of Botanic Gardens, Aquariums, and Zoos in Species Conservation. 

Razan Al Mubarak, IUCN President said, “I have been personally involved in efforts for reversing population declines and improving the conservation status of species, and the inspiring success stories I have seen give me hope. It is never too late. Species can recover in the wild, if given a chance in well-managed captive populations such as those maintained by zoos, botanic gardens and aquaria.  

“The IUCN Species Survival Commission Position Statement on the Role of Botanic Gardens, Aquariums, and Zoos in Species Conservation recognizes the leading role that these organizations already play in the science and practice of conservation, and invites others to reach their full potential, working alongside governments and key partners to collectively achieve IUCN's One Plan Approach.” 

Formal recognition of the role zoos, aquariums and botanic gardens play in the conservation of species across the globe reflects the vital work these organisations are already undertaking to save species in the wild. Good zoos are a place of science, education and welfare, working to safeguard populations, support species struggling in the wild and inspire generations to save wildlife around the world 

The ‘One Plan’ approach is the only way we can bring our planet back to life. By pooling expertise and resources from across many organisations and governments, using science and conservation planning to support sound decision-making, and working in partnership with local communities, we can create a world where nature is protected, valued and loved. 

This significant statement recognises that good zoos are incredible hubs of scientific knowledge and a vital lifeline in the fight to save species from extinction.  

David Field 


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