On Tuesday, October 2nd, AZA hosted congressional staff and other guests at a briefing entitled, “Wild Animal Migrations: Connecting People and Places.” The briefing raised awareness about a variety of national and international migratory species initiatives while educating the audience about the challenges facing these species including habitat loss, changing climate conditions, and land development.
Deborah Hahn spoke about why migratory species conservation matters in the United States and some of the relevant laws affecting these species. Next, Kelly Keenan Aylward discussed a report that WCS issued entitled, “Spectacular Migrations in the Western U.S.” (http://www.wcs.org/files/pdfs/ Spectacular-Migrations-in-the-Western-US-Version-3.pdf) as well as recent efforts to make transportation routes safer for people and wildlife. Peter Leimgruber spoke about efforts, which are representative of the type of breeding and reintroduction work being done at accredited zoos and aquariums nationwide, to save the Przewalski horse and Mongolian gazelle. Finally, Monika Thiele addressed migratory species from an international perspective and initiatives of the Convention on Migratory Species.
Tuesday’s briefing was part of AZA’s ongoing effort to bring the stories about the valuable economic, education, and conservation impacts of accredited zoos and aquariums to Capitol Hill.
The panel of speakers included Deborah Hahn, International Relations Director at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Kelly Keenan Aylward, Washington Office Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society; Peter Leimgruber, Research Biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; and, Monika Thiele, Programme Officer, Focal Point for North America, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species.
For more information or to send a letter to your representative and senators about issues affecting accredited zoos and aquariums, please visit the AZA Legislative Education Center at http://www.congressweb.com/cweb2/index.cfm/siteid/aza.
Jennifer Keaton, AZA Vice President, Congressional Affairs