HCT | Ralph Buij

Conservationists call to Reverse the Red Day and save species from extinction

Posted: 7th February, 2024

Today [7 February] BIAZA, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums is supporting Reverse the Red (RtR) Day and the campaign’s vision to ignite strategic action and optimism to ensure the survival of species and ecosystems.

Over 44,000 animals on the IUCN Red List are threatened with extinction; the magnitude of threat to wildlife is incontestable. This can be overwhelming, but with hundreds of zoos, aquariums and conservation organisations collectively making a difference to species and habitats, real changes can and have been made in reversing these solemn trends.

BIAZA member zoos and aquariums are committed towards the conservation of species worldwide. This conservation work of good zoos and aquariums is informed by the IUCN Red List, which acts as a barometer for species survival.  Just last year the IUCN, an international authority on nature, heralded the work of zoos and aquariums in saving species in an unprecedented statement.

The IUCN Green Status of Species complements the Red List by providing a tool for assessing the recovery of species’ populations and measuring their conservation success.

IUCN, alongside WAZA (the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) have been mobilising conservation organisations the globe, and will launch the World Species Congress on May 15 to bring together this global network to share the optimism among Governments, Botanical Gardens, NGO’s, Aquariums, & Zoos of how each have improved the status of species.

Reverse the Red shows that we can save species; conservation action works. Actions being taken by BIAZA zoos and aquariums include:

  • Saving the tequila fish - an ‘extinct fish’ made a comeback after conservationists from Chester Zoo and Michoacana University of Mexico teamed up to raise and return 1500 fish to their home river where they had been wiped out, due to invasive species and water pollution (the project was even praised by Leonardo DiCaprio).
  • Saving one of the world’s rarest birds -the Bali Starling, is being bred successfully at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo in London. In 2001, there were just six of these birds left in the wild.
  • Supporting the overlooked - The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs Jersey Zoo, is supporting numerous overlooked endangered species – from the world’s smallest pig, to the most endangered duck.
  • Pioneering partnerships - The Pallas’s cat is being helped by the first and only project dedicated to their conservation on a global scale, PICA, combining the expertise of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Nordens Ark, and many more.
  • Game-changing conservation - ZSL Wild Oysters Project, a partnership with Blue Marine Foundation and many others to reintroduce ten thousand native oysters to specially designed reefs. This project won the BIAZA Great British Wildlife Restoration Award in January. 

This Reverse the Red Day, we celebrate the incredible work done by our members, and join the call to action to support wildlife, sharing in the optimism that we’ll be seeing more species join the Green List thanks to conservationists, zoos, and aquariums.