Conservation: What We're Doing
Conservation: What We're Doing
Conservation and environmental stewardship are at the core of our mission here at Roger Williams Park Zoo. We work to promote wildlife and habitat conservation through hands-on conservation projects on Zoo grounds and around the world, as well as through partnerships and collaborations with other environmental organizations. The Zoo has been the recipient of numerous awards for conservation work done both locally and around the globe, and we maintain a reputation as a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of our size.
Species Survival Plan Program
One of our most powerful tools in combating extinction is the Species Survival Plan Program (SSPP). The Association of Zoos and Aquariums established this program 1981 as a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species at North American zoos and aquariums.
American Burying Beetle Recovery
Roger Williams Park Zoo is striving to bring the critically endangered American Burying Beetle, an important invertebrate known as "nature's recycler," back from the brink of extinction. The program was recognized by AZA as one of the top ten conservation success stories of 2006 and has been the recipient of AZA’s North American Conservation Award (2000) and an Edward H. Bean Award (2006). Roger Williams Park Zoo also serves as the AZA's national headquarters for this beetle's Species Survival Plan.
Karner Blue Butterfly Conservation
RWPZ has been working with the state of New Hampshire to restore critical habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The Zoo grows host and nectar plants, takes part in habitat restoration activities as well as captive-rearing Karner blue butterflies for reintroduction. This program received a significant achievement award for North American Conservation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2010.
Panama Amphibian Conservation
The global frog extinction crisis is one of the most important conservation challenges ever faced by the Zoo and Aquarium community. Never in documented history has an entire species faced such rapid extinction. We are taking part in important efforts to save these threatened amphibian species at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama by providing vital expertise and assistance in rearing invertebrate colonies to supply a sustainable food source for rescued amphibians.
As a participant in the national FrogWatch USA program, the Zoo trains volunteer “citizen scientists” to participate in annual frog monitoring across Rhode Island in an effort to document and conserve these potentially threatened species.
Polar Bears International
Roger Williams Park Zoo is an Arctic Ambassador Center for Polar Bears International (PBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat though research and education.
NE Cottontail Rabbit Recovery
As of late 2010, we are supporting a federal and multi-state initiative to restore the New England cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus transitionalis) back to its historic range. RWP Zoo is providing facilities, supplies, husbandry, and expertise to maintain and reproduce a genetically diverse captive population of NECT rabbits for reintroduction into select sites in the New England area.
Timber Rattlesnake Recovery Program
The timber rattlesnake (C. horridus) is seriously threatened in all of NE and completely extirpated from some areas. In addition, certain individuals of the species are being affected by a fungal disease that is of serious concern. Roger Williams Park Zoo staff members are participating in a collaborative regional effort to study and address these concerns.
Founded by the RI Natural History Survey in 1999, Bio-Blitz is a 24-hour event that provides an important snapshot of biodiversity in Rhode Island. As a partnering organization, Roger Williams Park Zoo provides annual financial support, training, public awareness efforts, and staffing for the event.
RWP Zoo provides financial support to conservation efforts around the world to help rebuild habitats and teach humans how to coexist with their wild neighbors. Elephants in Africa, tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea, butterfly conservation efforts in North America, and biologists working around the world to preserve and protect wildlife and habitats all receive financial support from our conservation program.
Being Green at the Zoo
In addition to fostering awareness of the importance of conservation and environment-friendly behaviors, we strive to use best practices in our everyday operations at the Zoo.