As the world’s only AZA certified turtle and tortoise facility, we participated in the AZA conference again this year. Many zoos and aquariums stopped by our booth to learn about how we’ve protected over 50,000 acres of wild land for turtles and tortoises. We also connected with our AZA partners who help us manage confiscations of wild turtles from the illegal wildlife trade. These partners include - US Fish and Wildlife Service, Phoenix Zoo, San Diego Zoo, WCS, San Antonio Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, Fort Worth Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium, Santa Barbara Zoo, and Charles Paddock Zoo. Together, they have helped us manage breeding of some of the rarest animals on the planet, like Ploughshare Tortoises.
There is also a major push within the zoo and aquarium world to give back to conservation work in the field. One example we are participating in is the AZA SAFE program (Saving Animals From Extinction). One of their flagship species is the Western Pond Turtle, our local species at the Turtle Conservancy in California. We were lucky enough to meet the team responsible for head starting programs at the San Francisco Zoo, Oakland Zoo and our host, Woodland Park Zoo. With the fires that have ravaged much of Southern California, we are hopefully that 2019 is a big year for pond turtle conservation for the Turtle Conservancy. We are committed to habitat restoration, improving captive management, and supporting research on the population dynamics in Southern California.