Posted on 04th December 2018 by Media Relations
THE WORLD ASSOCIATION OF Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) stepped boldly into the international arena as it held a Global Species Congress to address the conservation and extinction crises, committed to sustainable forestry guidelines. The WAZA Conservation Award was given to Taronga Conservation Society Australia, with Dr. Jane Goodall in attendance at the conference held in Bangkok, Thailand.
This is the first time an Australian organisation has received this prestigious award, and the third WAZA award ever given. This year Taronga has been recognised for the depth and breadth of its conservation work in areas such as education, community campaigns, scientific research and field programs.
“Now, more than ever, the work of conservation zoos around the world is vital to ensuring the future of our wildlife and the health of our planet,” says Taronga Conservation Society Australia CEO Cameron Kerr.
“We are at a critical point in time, with almost 500 animals and 1300 plants considered threatened in Australia alone. It’s possible we could lose Corroboree Frogs, or Regent Honeyeaters, or even Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombats. For our near neighbours the threat is just as imminent: we know there are as few as 380 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, and, sadly, only 60 Javan Rhinos. Put quite simply, there aren’t enough animals left in their natural habitats to sustain many of these species into the future.”
Taronga’s programs for threatened wildlife help a myriad of animals, with activities ranging from breeding and releasing endangered species and combating the illegal wildlife trade, to critical habitat restoration and educating school children to become conservation and wildlife champions.
“In the last 12 months alone Taronga partnered with 38 organisations working on the front line of conservation across 33 countries,” says Cameron Kerr. “This work is vital to identify and reduce key threats to threatened and priority species, protect important habitat for wildlife, and support healthy communities. From Papua New Guinea to Vietnam, and from Zambia to Indonesia, Taronga works with global conservation experts in the field to secure a shared future for wildlife and people.”
Taronga’s programs and partnerships within and beyond Australia have been carefully selected to ensure effective, practical and timely outcomes that address current and future conservation challenges, particularly in wildlife and ecosystem health. Nurturing the next generation of scientists, conservationists and wildlife advocates also remains central to Taronga’s goals, and in the past year alone more than 150,000 students participated in Taronga’s education programs.
Since 2009, over $40 million has been directly invested in species recovery programs, field projects, conservation sciences projects, education programs and behaviour change campaigns. Research has also been a core component of Taronga’s programs in the field, and one particular program produced five-peer reviewed publications to date.
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton MP, said she is incredibly proud of the recognition Taronga has received.
“Taronga is leading the world in research and education in conservation and the rest of the world looks to them for guidance. It is also a well-loved, Australian icon and all of us should celebrate this amazing achievement.”
David Paradice, who was appointed Chair of the Taronga Foundation this month, said it was also a win for Australian leadership in wildlife conservation.
“I love what Taronga stands for, the conservation and environmental work and the people at Taronga, I am so proud of this win and I am honored to have been asked to take on the role of Chairman of the Taronga Foundation. The foundation has shown real leadership in Australian conservation philanthropy and I hope to continue this legacy.”
David Paradice AO is the managing director of Paradice Investment Management, a privately-owned Australian boutique fund management firm established in 1999 by David himself, following a successful career in funds management that began at the NSW State Superannuation Investment and Management Corporation.
A recent recipient of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to the community for philanthropy, charity and business and commerce in the field of investment management, David is now applying his passion for conservation and environment to the practices of his Investment Management business. Amongst a number of other conservation and environmental initiatives David was involved in the establishment of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. After spending time in Denver to oversee their global operations he now spends most of his time in Australia
David was first introduced to Taronga in 2014 by his good friend Gretel Packer, who is a long term supporter of Taronga’s work. Since that time David with his son and brother visited Sumatra with Taronga’s CEO, Cameron Kerr to experience the work of Taronga first hand.
David has taken on the position of Chairman of the Taronga Foundation, the fundraising arm of Taronga Conservation Society Australia which raises vital funds to support Taronga’s work in Australia and across the globe.