Western Lowland Gorilla

AZA SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction

Zoo New England is proud to support the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' global collaborative conservation effort, SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction. SAFE joins together the 180 million annual zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA members and partners to save the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction.

SAFE is a framework that:

  • Protects threatened animals.
  • Builds on established recovery plans and history of commitment.
  • Prioritizes collaboration among AZA member institutions.
  • Implements strategic conservation and stakeholder engagement activities.
  • Measures and reports conservation progress.

Without critical intervention, we are facing the very real possibility of losing some of our planet’s most iconic creatures—such as cheetahs, elephants, gorillas, sea turtles and sharks. Through SAFE, we lend our expertise and funding to support 19 threatened animals – before they are gone forever.

SAFE Species here at Zoo New England



African Lion

AZA organizations are partnering with organizations in Africa to mitigate conflict between farmers and lions, increase monitoring of the lion population’s numbers and distribution, and address habitat loss. The SAFE African lion team will work towards their goals and with the Lion Recovery Fund and Disney's Protect the Pride campaign, to double the number of lions in the wild by 2050.

In 2018, AZA members spent more than $2,121,000 to help save African lions from extinction.


AZA organizations partnering with the SAFE giraffe program are implementing programs to increase consistent and impactful conservation messaging about giraffe for use in zoos and aquariums, and are developing population and health monitoring projects in Africa. 

In 2018, AZA members spent more than $918,000 to help save giraffe from extinction.


Since the mid-1980s, AZA member institutions have been funding, conducting and supporting jaguar-related fieldwork in Central and South America. Using objectives outlined by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group, the SAFE jaguar program is focused on protecting jaguars primarily in Central America, and expanding capacity to protect jaguars throughout their range.

Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture

AZA institutions are engaging with local communities about the issue of poisoning and how it impacts vultures and other African species by providing information on the importance of vultures for the ecosystem. AZA organizations are also monitoring populations to determine areas with the highest declines. The goal of the African Vulture Action Plan is to improve the population status of all six target species in at least 25% of their African distribution by 2020.

Western Lowland Gorilla

To offset declines in two subspecies of gorilla, AZA organizations raised $7.7 million for gorilla conservation from 2013-2017 and project leaders for the SAFE gorilla program are developing action plans to address the current threats.

In 2018, AZA members spent more than $1,684,000 to help save gorillas from extinction.

Whooping Crane

AZA members are taking part in conservation breeding and reintroduction programs to bolster the numbers of whooping cranes in the wild. Members are also working to identify critical habitats and provide funding for field conservation projects that address wetland habitat quality, illegal shootings, and minimize deaths or injuries from collision with power lines during migration season.

In 2018, AZA members spent more than $810,000 to help save whooping cranes from extinction.

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