Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Partners Receive Prestigious Award for International Conservation Program

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

CONTACT: Rob Vernon, AZA

Erika Archibald, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Silver Spring, Maryland (December 20, 2017) – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund along with the Louisville Zoo and nine other collaborating conservation partners received “Top Honors” in AZA’s 2017 International Conservation Award  for gorilla conservation as documented in the award application, Saving One of the World’s Most Charismatic Species: 50 years of Conserving Eastern Gorillas. All ten collaborating partners are AZA-accredited facilities.

 This annual award recognizes exceptional efforts toward regional habitat preservation, species restoration, and support of biodiversity in the wild. Winning projects are recognized as models of zoo-driven global conservation movements.

“With conservation as our mission, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums directly contribute to the survival of hundreds of imperiled species in nature,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and its AZA partners are global leaders in the field and this award recognizes their five decades of work on eastern gorillas as an outstanding example of the contributions zoo and aquarium professionals are making through research and field conservation projects.”

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s effort to study and protect gorillas began 50 years ago.  Using a holistic approach that includes daily protection, scientific research, training the next generation of conservations, and helping communities, the Fossey Fund has helped bring mountain gorillas back from the brink of extinction. The Fund now also works in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to help the rapidly dwindling Grauer’s gorillas. Critical to the Fossey Fund’s success has been a number of AZA partners who have provide essential financial, programmatic and governance support for much of the organization’s history.

“The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is thrilled to be recognized for our work over the last five decades to protect critically endangered gorillas,” said Tara Stoinski, president and CEO of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.  “An essential part of our success is the financial and organizational support that has been provided to us by the AZA community and we are thrilled to be able to share this award with those institutions who have played such an important role in our growth and success.”

Collaborative partners on this project include Zoo Atlanta, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Dallas Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoological Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Indianapolis Zoological Society, San Diego Zoo, Birmingham Zoo, and Louisville Zoological Garden.

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.

 About The Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).