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Woodland Park Zoo wins two national conservation awards

Woodland Park Zoo won two conservation awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) this week. It won the North American Conservation Award for its collaborative Oregon Spotted Frog Reintroduction Project, along with partners Oregon Zoo and Northwest Trek; and Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo won the Significant Achievement Award for the Oregon Silverspot Captive Rearing Program.

Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

The Oregon Spotted Frog Reintroduction Project is a six-year collaborative effort among Woodland Park Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Northwest Trek and other conservation leaders in the Pacific Northwest. Populations of the native Oregon spotted frog have been decimated by 80 to 90 percent in Washington state. But Woodland Park Zoo and its partners joined to institute a recovery program to restore the endangered frog populations and get them back on their feet. The frogs are collected from wetlands as eggs and placed at the zoos for hatching and rearing for several months in a predator-free home as they transform from tadpole to full-fledged frog – giving them a head start until they are large enough to avoid predators that might prey upon them.
Woodland Park Zoo joined Oregon Zoo and other conservation leaders in a collaborative habitat restoration and reintroduction program to help increase the silverspot butterfly population in the Pacific Northwest. Program partners raise eggs in captivity until they become pupae and are ready to change to adult butterflies. They are then released into a protected area on the Oregon Coast in an ongoing effort to augment the population.

And the zoo will break ground on its new tiger and sloth bear exhibit on Tuesday. The $19.6 million two-acre Asian tropical forest will open in two phases. Phase One, featuring Asian small-clawed otters and a kids’ nature play area, will open in May 2013. In 2014, Phase Two will open with endangered Malayan tigers and sloth bears.