Conservation Achievements

  • Conservation Achievements


Pacific Bird Conservation: Marianas Avifauna Conservation (MAC) and Samoa

Marianas Avifauna Conservation (MAC) was initiated by the Honolulu Zoo and collaborators in 2004 to provide the avifauna of the Mariana archipelago with chances for long-term survival by securing populations from the threat of the brown tree snake. The MAC project collaborators are the CNMI Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Pacific Bird Conservation, Honolulu Zoo, St. Louis Zoo, Louisville Zoo, the USFWS and the USGS. To protect CNMI’s 11 native species, techniques are being developed to capture, hold and breed in captivity all of the bird species, and to establish captive populations of selected species that can be reintroduced back to islands in the CNMI when brown tree-snakes have been controlled or eradicated. Birds are also being translocated to islands that are free of the brown tree-snake to establish self-sustaining, satellite populations.

Manoa Cliff Native Forest Restoration Project

The Manoa Cliff restoration site is a 6-acre area of forest along the Manoa Cliff trail above Honolulu which the Department of Land and Natural Resources fenced in to keep out feral pigs. The all-volunteer restoration project was initiated by UH graduate student Mashuri Waite in 2005 with a permit from Na Ala Hele (responsible for the State trail system). This area was chosen because it still has many interesting native species and is easily accessible to the average hiker on O’ahu.

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

The Honolulu Zoo partners with the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DFW), Hawaii Invertebrate Program in the Conservation of Native Endemic Invertebrates. The Hawaii Invertebrate Program is within the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife. The goal of the program is to recover populations of rare endemic arthropods and snails through captive rearing, reintroductions, and translocations. On Monday November 20, 2017 the Honolulu Zoo opened up a Kamehameha butterfly exhibit and native endemic invertebrate breeding lab within the new Ectotherm Complex in collaboration with the Hawaii Invertebrate Program with DLNR/DFW.

Kamehameha Butterfly Project

On December 17 – 18, 2017 staff from the Honolulu Zoo and the Hawaii Invertebrate Program DLNR/DFW went to Manoa Cliff and released Kamehameha butterflies from their lab and Kamehameha caterpillars hatched at the Honolulu Zoo. The program and partnership has proved to be quite successful at propagation of some native endemic invertebrates including the Kamehameha butterfly. The Kamehameha butterfly was once common in the Tantalus area, but hasn’t been seen there for over 20 years. Over the past 12 years, volunteers with the Manoa Cliff Restoration Project have been outplanting native plants, including mamaki and other host plants for the butterfly. Our hope is that this restored forest will provide a suitable habitat for the butterfly. The Kamehameha butterfly is the Hawaii State Insect.

Endemic Native Hawaiian snails

The first species of Hawaiian snails the Honolulu Zoo is working with is Amastra cylindrica. Progeny of this species produced at the Honolulu Zoo will be reintroduced back into its native home range. It is endemic to the Southern Wai’anae Mountains on Oahu and is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red list although scientists working with this species feel it should be reassessed and elevated to extinct in the wild. A. cylindrica was thought to be extinct until the species was rediscovered in 1995. Unfortunately, this last known wild population was extirpated in 2015 by invasive predators. The individuals alive in captivity today are the progeny of only two founding snails. In less than two months the Honolulu Zoo has been successfully able to propagate this species in the Honolulu Zoo’s Invertebrate breeding Lab. It is anticipated that in 2018 the Honolulu Zoo and DLNR may be able to release progeny back into the wild.

Hawaii Wildlife Center

The Hawai‘i Wildlife Center is a state and region-wide wildlife response organization. Their programs include disaster response and responder training, contingency planning, research and hands-on wildlife rehabilitation at our wildlife hospital in Kapa‘au, Hawai‘i Island. The Hawai’i Wildlife Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of protecting, conserving, and aiding in the recovery of Hawai’i’s native wildlife through hands-on treatment, research, training, science education and cultural programs. The HWC is the first organization of its kind exclusively for native Hawaiian wildlife and provides state-of-the-art care and rehabilitation for native animals as well as comprehensive wildlife rescue training and public education and outreach programs. The HWC is not a zoo or a reserve, it is a professional organization that focuses on treating and rehabilitating sick, injured and oiled wildlife for release back into the wild. The HWC provides care for all species of native birds as well as the Hawaiian hoary bat. Of the 70+ native taxa cared for, 90% are federally threatened, endangered or of high conservation concern. The HWC is the only facility of its kind in the Pacific Islands Region and meets all federal, state and local standards for accommodating a large-scale rescue and rehabilitation effort targeting oiled, sick or injured wildlife. The HWC facility, which is located on Big Island, is purpose-built, 4500 ft2, sits on two acres, and operates seven days a week. The facility also has purpose-built recovery aviaries to condition and strengthen birds before release. The HWC serves all major and minor Hawaiian Islands, extending to Midway and Kure Atoll. The Honolulu Zoo and the Hawaii Wildlife Center are collaborating in wildlife rehabilitation efforts on Oahu. In November/December the Honolulu Zoo partnered with the Hawaii Wildlife Center in a three week pilot program for the shearwater fallout season which proved to be quite successful. We continue to partner conservation efforts and wildlife rehabilitation and hope to grow our efforts further in the near future.

Conservation Council for Hawaii

The Honolulu Zoo is partnering with the Hawaii Conservation Council in hosting the 2018 Manu O Ku Festival Saturday May 12, 2018 at the Honolulu Zoo.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine

The Honolulu Zoo works closely with Hawaii State Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Division. We provide information to the public regarding the threat of invasive species and the harm they can do to Hawaii’s fragile ecosystem. The Honolulu Zoo also participates in the states Amnesty program and as a municipal zoo are a drop off point for the voluntary surrender of illegal animals. Animals such as snakes, large reptiles, predatory mammals, invasive bird species and non-native mammals are illegal to have in Hawaii. No penalties are assessed if a person voluntarily turns in a prohibited species before an investigation is initiated.

Oahu Invasive Species Council

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Collaborate on release sites and rehabilitation for the Manu O Ku.


Honolulu Zoo provides veterinary support when requested along with facility use and medical supplies.

Partner of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Chair's Office

Amphibian Specialist Group SSC IUCN

Group member on staff.

IUCN Red Listing Work Shop

IUCN Red List Work Shop 2018 three day series taught by Rob Bullock IUCN Red List Assessor and trainer. The purpose is to train specialists in the conservation field to do Red List assessments of native endemic Hawaiian flora and fauna. Agencies represented include USFW, DLNR-DFW, NOAA and the Honolulu Zoo.

Japanese Giant Salamander Conservation

Hiroshima Flora and Fauna Society Since 1973 the Asa Zoo has performed investigations regularly in the Shijihara area in the northern part of Hiroshima Prefecture. There are weirs in this area that are preventing the breeding migration of the Giant salamander. The JGS cannot go upstream so they lay their eggs under the weir and the eggs are then washed away by the heavy rains. In 1985 it was proposed that the weir should have 40 cm height stairs, some slope, and artificial breeding nests under the bank. The artificial breeding nest mimicked a natural breeding nest but needed to be maintained. The local people and the Asa Zoo maintain the artificial nests by clearing them of sand every June. The sand accumulates from heavy rains and runoff which blocks the entrance to the den. The local people began to think that the giant salamander was the greatest fortune in their town. In 2003 the weir that prevented the migration of the giant salamander was improved through a petition signed by the people.

The Hanzaki Institute In-situ surveys at Hyogo Prefecture of Andrias japonicas. The study includes conducting current surveys and analyzing data collected over the last 40 years of 1600 specimens. Develop a digital database from analog data, monitor the survey area, compare results to the database and analyze all data. This enables us to unlock the basic ecology and conservation implications of the Japanese Giant Salamanders.

Turtle Conservancy and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Madagascar Ploughshare Tortoise Project: The Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) is known as the most endangered tortoise in the world because of its very limited range in Madagascar. It has become a prized specimen to international collectors in the illicit pet trade. The depleted wild population is only 400-600 individuals. The Turtle Conservancy has teamed up with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to develop and implement strategies to conserve the species on the ground in Madagascar using all possible tools for the conservation of this species, including direct protection from theft, community education and captive breeding.

Illegal Trafficking of Turtles and Tortoises through Asia: Philippine Forest turtle crisis: 4,000 endangered turtles were confiscated from a well-organized syndicate of poachers in the Philippines, destined for the illegal food and pet trade markets in East Asia. Of these 4,000 animals, nearly 3,800 were Philippine Forest Turtles (Siebenrockiella leytensis), a critically endangered species that is endemic to the Island of Palawan.

The Orangutan Foundation: Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

The Orangutan Foundation has developed a diverse range of programs that include local communities, grassroots NGO’s, local business and regional governments. The Honolulu Zoo specifically supports the Lamandau Reserve Project in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. This project was started in 2000 with the support of the San Diego Zoo. The Honolulu Zoo has been supporting the Lamandau Reserve Project since 2014.

SANCOB: African Penguin Conservation

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is a leading marine-orientated non-profit organization which has treated more than 90 000 oiled, ill, injured or abandoned African penguins and other threatened seabirds since being established in 1968. Independent research confirms that the wild African population is 19% higher directly due to SANCCOB’s oiled wildlife response efforts. SANCCOB works with numerous conservation-minded local and international partners and promotes projects which contribute toward the conservation and protection of Southern Africa´s seabirds, especially threatened species such as the African penguin. As project administrators we facilitate the funding of projects which are in line with the Biodiversity Management Plan for the African penguin in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act No. 10 of 2004). This plan concentrates on establishing guidelines around various aspects of African penguin conservation and consolidating existing conservation work. SANCCOB is an internationally recognized leader in oiled wildlife response, rehabilitation and chick-rearing; contributes to research which benefits seabirds; conducts research that aims to inform management authorities; trains people to care for the birds and educates the public to appreciate this unique heritage.

Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation Rehabilitation and Rescue

Wildlife SOS and the State Forest Department are working towards rescuing Asian elephants that are used on the streets for tourist rides or housed in abusive living situations by providing them a bright future for the rest of their lives.

The Tiger Conservation Campaign: AZA Tiger SSP

Malayan Tiger Anti-Poaching Efforts: In Peninsular Malaysia, the Endau-Rompin Landscape has the potential to hold approximately 100 tigers. But due to the poaching of tigers and their prey, the tiger population is well below capacity. Our campaign supports WCS’s efforts to increase the effectiveness of anti-poaching patrols, and to strengthen anti-poaching laws. Sumatran Tigers : Approximately 500 wild Sumatran tigers remain. Threats include poaching of tigers and their prey, and habitat loss. We support efforts to reduce tiger-human conflict, and combat wildlife crime and habitat loss.

Komodo Survival Program (KSP) AZA Komodo Dragon SSP

The Komodo Dragon SSP is working with this Indonesian-based non-profit organization to provide sound information on the biology, ecology, and conservation status of the Komodo Dragon to help devise management and conservation plans for the species and its natural habitat. KSP also supports the involvement of local communities in wildlife protection and scientific monitoring activities. (website under construction.)

The Mabula Ground Hornbill Project

The Mabula Ground Hornbill Project aims to bolster the number of wild Southern Ground Hornbills, a flagship species for the savannah biome. There are only 1500 birds remaining in South Africa where they are endangered, and their numbers are declining throughout all their range in Africa. The main reason for the decline is loss of over 70% of their natural habitat due to agriculture and cattle, indirect poisoning and snaring, loss of large nesting trees, and electrocution on power transformer boxes. The project hand-rears second chicks that otherwise die of starvation in wild nests, then re-wilds and reintroduces these birds back into areas where they are locally extinct. They also provide artificial nests where there are inadequate nest sites, conduct research on genetics and behavior, and coordinate awareness campaigns to educate school children and the public about the threats to this species.

Giraffe Conservation Foundation

In 1998 the IUCN estimated the total number of giraffe in Africa to exceed 140 000. By 2012, according to assessments coordinated by GCF, this had dropped to fewer than 80,000 individuals; indeed, in some areas traditionally regarded as prime giraffe real estate, numbers dropped by some 65 per cent. Limited research has been undertaken on giraffe across Africa. As a species, the giraffe is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. However, since two of the subspecies have recently been listed as endangered and of high conservation pri¬ority, the need for an accurate evaluation, driven by solid baseline data, throughout the continent has never been more important. GCF researchers have begun the long-overdue process of establishing the first continent-wide, giraffe-range-state country profiles.

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