Giant Pandas Arrive at San Diego Zoo: AZA Giant Panda Action Plan to be Implemented

The San Diego Zoo received two giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Bai Yun and Shi Shi from the People's Republic of China on September 10, 1996. The pandas will remain in the United States on a 12-year research loan as part of an ongoing global giant panda conservation program. As a result of the panda's arrival, the AZA's Giant Panda Foundation will assist with the implementation of the AZA Action Plan, which includes significant support for wild habitat protection projects outlined in China's National Conservation Plan for the Giant Panda and its Habitat. The goals of the Action Plan include captive breeding, research, educating the public about pandas and their habitat, and conservation of the panda in the wild.

Black-footed Ferret Plan Finalized

The AZA Conservation and Science Office has completed the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program Analysis and Action Plan. The AZA Plan is a set of recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and will be used to update the FWS Recovery Plan. The Action Plan suggests that the reorganization of the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program include an executive committee and three technical committees (Field Conservation, Education and Outreach, and Captive Breeding). The FWS will be recognized as the lead agency in the Program. The analysis outlined Priority Recommendations such as developing a plan for the preservation of existing and potential ferret habitat, focusing short-term reintroduction efforts on no more than three sites, and increasing the size of the current captive breeding population. Increasing public awareness and appreciation of the prairie ecosystem were also identified as important goals.

AZA Announces Awards

The AZA Conservation and Science Office is pleased to announce the recipients of several awards. Seventy-three outstanding proposals were received, competing for a total of $392,000 with the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF) providing $250,000 of the total amount. One of the programs funded by CEF was the development, production and safety evaluation of canine distemper vaccines for use in black-footed ferrets and other carnivores. The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund provided $102,000 in award monies; one of the recipients was a coral propagation facility at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu. The Ralston Purina Big Cat Survival Fund provided $40,000 in award monies for research, including a study of the strategies for survival of free-ranging cheetahs in Namibia, Africa, by the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Selecting award recipients was a difficult task for the 12-member Conservation Endowment Fund Scientific Advisory Committee. The AZA feels very fortunate that funding levels have increased to the point that 23 proposals received funding.


October 6-10, 1996: The National Conference of the American Association of Zoo Keepers will be held in Detroit, Michigan, at the Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center. For further information, contact Michelle Seldon-Koch, Detroit Zoological Institute, P.O. Box 39, Royal Oak, MI 48168-0039; Tel: (810) 398-0903; Fax: (810) 398-0504.

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