Director of Animal Care & Deputy General Manager, Greater Vancouver Zoo
The Greater Vancouver Zoo’s conservation programs, including its award-winning Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Program, are helping to protect local endangered species.
When it comes to wildlife conservation and endangered species, people’s minds often go to large, well-known animals: rhinos, elephants, tigers, and chimpanzees. But what about the endangered animals closer to home, right here in Canada?
“We quite often find that people in our local communities aren’t even aware of the different species that are in their own backyards,” says Menita Prasad, Director of Animal Care and Deputy General Manager at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. “And if you’re not aware of the species around you, how are you going to know whether they’re in trouble and what you can do to help them?”
Despite a general lack of awareness of the biodiversity and conservation issues all around us, the animals in our own backyards do need our attention and our help. Many Canadians would be shocked to find out that 66 percent of all species in Canada are on the decline.
Supporting conservation efforts
The Greater Vancouver Zoo is on a mission to change this, and conservation work is part of its official mandate. Its conservation work also focuses on local endangered species.
“All of the ex-situ conservation programs we’re currently involved in deal with local native endangered species, as that’s where we feel we can make the strongest impact,” explains Prasad.
The zoo’s Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Program, in particular, is making a big impact. Last year, it was awarded the Colonel G.D. Dailley Award from Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums. Launched in 1999, when Oregon spotted frogs showed up on the list of endangered animals, the program has involved many different conservation actions, including population monitoring, habitat restoration, and captive breeding for release.
The Greater Vancouver Zoo also works toward recovering populations of western painted turtles, Taylor’s Checkerspot butterflies, and Salish suckers.