Did You Know?
Amur Tigers are the biggest cats in the wild, topping out around 600 pounds!
Well hello there! It’s been a busy summer, hasn’t it? We’re excited to tell you about our involvement this year in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The AZA’s mission is to foster leaders in animal care, wildlife conservation, education and community engagement, and Potter Park Zoo is an accredited member of the Association.
Back in July, we hosted Species Survival Plan (SSP) meetings for snow leopards and tigers. The SSP is a program of the AZA which keeps records of all animals in captivity and advises zoos on breeding plans for them. Snow leopard and tiger experts from throughout North America gathered here in Lansing for their annual meeting. As you may know, PPZ’s female snow leopard, Serena, participates in some groundbreaking research. We are proud to play a prominent role in the conservation of these animals.
A few weeks ago, Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium hosted the AZA annual conference which brings zoo folks together to share their new ideas, best practices, successful programs and more. Two of PPZ's education programs were featured in a session about intensive learning at zoos! The BIG Zoo Lesson is a unique tool for teaching conservation and developing sensitivity to the natural world. It is a model study for grades 2-6 that can be replicated at other zoos. PPZ's high school class called "Zoo and Aquarium Science" educates older students about career opportunities in animal science. The curriculum focuses on zoo structure and management, anatomy and physiology, caring for animals in captivity, and conservation and education. It’s really important to showcase creative education programs, especially with shrinking budgets at many institutions. We were honored to present alongside Brevard Zoo and Columbus Zoo at the conference, who have some pretty cool programs as well.
Potter Park Zoo has a unwavering committment to conservation and education, and we look forward to working more with the AZA to further our mission.