Projects for the conservation of unknown endangered species
Hereafter, you can learn more about the projects we support, including:
Get more information on how to support our projects under "Donate & Help".
Dr. Sven Hammer
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At every general assembly, various project partners participate in our clip award and send in wonderful videos. When presenting their work, they give us a great insight in their conservation efforts.
These video clips are a very good opportunity to get an impression of the benefits, that have been achieved with the funding provided. More videos are available on our Youtube channel.
In the following, we provide a small selection of ongoing and completed projects that give you an impression of our work. Click on the pictures in the foto strip for a short summary.
Colombia, time-limited, 2020
Atelopus are a genus of Latin American frogs with about 100 species, also known as harlequin frogs or toads. They occur between Costa Rica and Bolivia and are members of the family Bufonidae. This project studied the populations of three different endangered harlequin frogs, all of which occur at high elevations in the Colombian Andes.
A particular threat factor for these amphibians is the spread of the chytrid fungus, which affects amphibians and causes an infectious disease that usually is fatal. However, the populations localized in Colombia seem to be stable so far - special interest in this project is therefore also to determine how this stability has been maintained despite the risk of infection. The goal is to be able to derive possibilities for the conservation of other Atelopus populations. At the same time, measures to protect the harlequin frogs will be taken with the involvement of the local communities, while local schools will be educated about the importance of amphibians in the ecosystems.
Indonesia, time-limited, since 2013
As there was hardly any information on this species available, ZGAP funded a project aiming at the collecting of fundamental data - especially regarding population size and habitat preference. Furthermore, the local population was integrated into the project to raise awareness for the animals' endangerment. The pigs often destroy the farmers' fields when searching for food, which results in recurrent conflicts between man and animal. In the Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center (CCBC), behavioural studies were conducted and compared to the animals' behaviour in the wild. Based on this data, guidelines for reintroduction programs have been establishd.
Indonesia, time-unlimited, since 2014
Since 2014, ZGAP has been funding a reintroduction program for the critically endangered Black-winged Starling in Bogor on the Indonesian island of Java. The starlings are successfully bred on the protected area of „Taman Safari“ and are then released into the wild in a gentle reintroduction process.
Estonia/Germany, time-unlimited since 1995
ZGAP is supportung ex situ breeding programs and reintroduction projects in Estonia and Germany (Steinhuder Meer). Research particularly focuses on the detection of factors that influence the survial of released animals in the wild. Since 2014, the population on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa has experienced a very positive development, and in 2015 a sensation occurred at the Steinhuder Meer, when the first wild European Minks were born in Germany in almost 100 years.
Ecuador, time-limited, 2020
The Galapagos petrel is, as the name suggests, a bird species native only to the Galapagos Islands. Males and females are almost indistinguishable to the eye, and the young ones also strongly resemble the adults in appearance. The birds spend much of their lives at sea, where they hunt for themselves and their offspring, but return to land for reproduction and breeding. Here, they are increasingly threatened through invasive species introduced by humans, such as rats, but also several domestic species like cats, dogs or cattle. Those species destroy their nests and often kill their chicks, so that the birds’ population has already decreased sharply.
This project, implemented by our project partner Jocotoco and supported by Malrow Bird Park, serves to conserve the petrels’ population, but also to control pests to protect the nests and stabilize their population numbers. Since 2019, seven colonies of birds and 193 breeding sites were identified at Jocotoco reserve. At the same time, wild cats and rats could be captured by the aid of traps. The installation of additional wildlife cameras will now be used to identify additional non-native species that might have previously evaded the traps, and to assess the threat posed by wild dogs and pigs, which can harm adult petrels or trample nests. Additionally, a widespread reforestation project has been started to restore the islands’ natural flora.
Nepal, time-limited, 2020
The gharial or gavial nowadays only exists in Nepal and northern India. Both populations are listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN. Characteristically for this species is the narrow, elongated snout, which ends in a hollow bulbous in males. This protuberance is used for vocalization – the males’ amplified hissing sounds can be heard up to one km away.
The project, which we are supporting together with Heidelberg Zoo, primarily aims to research the reproduction and nesting ecology of the gharial in Barida National Park in southwestern Nepal. Accordingly, two breeding groups of gharials consisting each of one male and several females could be identified in March 2022. In addition, several nests were found, one of which contained up to 60 juveniles. To protect the gharials’ breeding grounds, touristic activity is to be limited severely in the near future, to minimize disturbance from fishing or camping activities. Additionally, scientific experts were trained on site to collect further data regarding the animals’ breeding behaviour, environmental conditions, and the local gharial populations. In the following years, the scientific presence on site will be enhanced in order to continuously monitor the offspring bred during the current project, and to hopefully find additional breeding areas.
Brasilia, time-unlimited, since 2019
The “Giant Armadillo Conservation Program” was founded to protect and conserve the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) in Brazil. The species is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN while population numbers are declining. Our local partner, the Instituto de Conservação de Animais Silvestres (ICAS), is working to protect the largest armadillo species alive. The first studies led by the project have shown that the animals are even more at risk of extinction than assumed due to their low reproduction rates and individual densities. Another acute threat is posed by increasing road traffic, targeted hunting and the progressive fragmentation of their habitat. With our cooperation partner, the Wilhelma zoological-botanical garden in Stuttgart, Germany, we support conservation efforts in the Brazilian Cerrado. The project part called “Armadillos & Honey” focuses on the human-species conflict caused by giant armadillos getting killed due to destroying beehives of local villagers in search for food. Therefore, awareness campaigns in the region have been started. The goal is to involve the beekeepers into the project and to create a benefit for them in form of establishing a certificate for “armadillo-friendly” honey products.
Vietnam, time-unlimited, since 2000
Since November 2000, the Golden-headed Langur has been protected by the "Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project" thanks to the dedication of ZGAP. The program has two goals: on the one hand, a sanctuary surrounded by a buffer zone was established in the area of the Natural World Heritage of Halong Bay National Park, where 35% of the remaining population live. On the other hand, measures were taken to protect langurs living outside the National Park: local people guard the sub-populations and their habitat and educate the public, local politicians, and tourists about the endangerment of the animals and their natural environment.
Mexico, time-limited, 2020
The Golden skiffia belongs to the Goodeidae, one of the most representative families of freshwater fish in Mexico, and is a fish species native only to the Rio Teuchitlán. Unfortunately, the Golden skiffia is already extinct in the wild, but will be bred and reintroduced into its habitat as part of this project. For this purpose, several hundred offspring of the skiffia are released into the river several times a year, while its water quality is closely monitored using various biochemical methods. Human pollution of the water is one of the main threats to the species. The goal is also to establish a long-term environmental education program on site to secure the assistance of the local communities in saving this species in its remaining habitat and in conserving natural resources in the river habitats of the region.
India, time-limited, since 2022
Green avadavats are endemic to India and have an extremely restricted range. The species is threatened due to illegal trapping and various anthropogenic threats. The project aims to study and protect the resident population in Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary. It is the first step in collecting primary data through surveys and the first attempt to start a conservation project that includes public awareness.
Brasil, time-unlimited, since 2007
As little was known about the bird's biology and ecology, ZGAP supported an extensive project in the Baturité mountains following a multi-pronged approach. So far, population size has increased threefold thanks to protective measures, poaching has decreased, and every year more nestlings fledge. Furthermore, new isolated populations were discovered in field studies.
Kenia/Somalia, time-limited, 1997 and 2011
Intensive fundamental research concerning the population's demography and choice of habitat was necessary to optimize future population management. These works were funded by ZGAP.
Indonesia, time-limited, 2012
The cute Javan Slow Loris are very popular companion animals. Due to ongoing and serious hunting for the illegal pet trade,their population has collapsed by at least 80% over the past 25 years. ZGAP funded field studies for the determination of the population size and - together with communicators - supported the establishment of a local protection program. In cooperation with "TRAFFIC Southeast Asia" short education films were produced and published on Youtube and television.
Indonesia, time unlimited, since 2007
In the Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center (Sukabumi, West Java, Indonesia), ZGAP established an ex situ population of the critically endangered Javan Warty Pig. The pigs bred in captivity function as a back-up population, while their offsprings are available for a reintroduction into the original habitat. Together with Taman Safari in Bogor, ZGAP established a second spatially divided population. Currently, we are working on a third breeding group at Taman Safari Prigen, East Java.
Ecuador, time-unlimited, since 1984
At the beginning there was a time-limited project to estimate the distribution and the population size of the Lilacine Amazon in northern Ecuador (Manabi and Esmeraldas). Special emphasis was put on the identification of important regions that were used for foraging, sleeping, and nesting. At the same time, the genetic varaiability of the northern population should be compared to the one in the southern part of the country. In 2016, it was decided to provide time-unlimited funding for this research program.
Tajikistan, time-unlimited, since 2008
In the framework of two projects that were funded by ZGAP and further partners, community-based wildlife sanctuary were established, where traditional hunters quit illegal hunting, help to stop poaching through foreigners, and are in charge of wildlife monitoring and further management measures. On the basis of surveys, very conservative hunting quotas are defined, that are mainly used for hunting tourism. The money earned from these hunts and from ecotourism together contribute to the motivation of the rangers and provide financing of rural development measures.
Bangladesh, time-unlimited, since 2014
For many years, the conservancy organisation "Turtle Survival Alliance" (TSA) together with the Zoological Garden Schönbrunn (Vienna, Austria) has dedicated its work with great commitment to a breeding program for this fascinating turtle, that is supposed to be extinct in the wild (see Slider). ZGAP has supported the work of TSA for years. Concurrently to these ex situ measures, it is necessary to continue long-time efforts to localise free-ranging individuals.
Indonesia, time-unlimited, since 2011
As the deployment of rangers is a fundamental parameter for the conservation of the species, ZGAP finances the salary for a ranger to relieve poaching pressure. Besides the direct protection of the habitat and the animals living within it, our project partners are seeking to raise awareness for the species' vulnerability among local communities. For instance, this includes the organisation of excursions for students and pupils of schools in the area. Furthermore, scientific studies are carried out in the project region.
Colombia, time-unlimited, since 2004
The project for the establishment of a conservation breeding-programme and research on the pacarana has been funded already since 2004. Important new findings about the biology and reproduction of the shy rodents have already been collected and reintroduction measures have been started in 2017. However, further information on the ecology and habitat use of the species is needed to better understand the threat factors and thus protect the species from extinction.
Ecuador, time-limited, 2020
The Peters’ ameiva is a lizard endemic to Ecuador, belonging to the Teiidae family, also known as tegus. It prefers regions with scrubland at altitudes of about 1,500 meters asl and is classified by the IUCN as critically endangered. In fact, the species was considered to be extinct until two small populations were rediscovered a few years ago in the Azuay province.
As part of this project, populations of the Peters’ ameiva were detected in the Yunguilla Reserve, as well as in other regions near that reserve. With the help of surveys and life traps, several adult individuals were captured and brought to the Amaru Reptile Conservation Center in Cuenca. An ex situ breeding program is currently being established and, once several generations have been successfully bred, the offspring will be reintroduced to the reserve. At the same time, with the involvement of the local communities, the habitat destruction is to be counteracted, which is mainly driven by the expansion of the local infrastructure, but also by domestic cats or agriculture.
Philippines, time-unlimited, since 1984
When ZGAP took first interest in the Philippine Spotted Deer in 1984, it was (and still is) at the edge of extinction – but hardly anyone had ever herad about it. The species had simply been forgotten by the public. ZGAP made intensive inquieries, got in touch with experts, and was organisationally and financially involved in a rescue program, in which several zoos from Europe, Australia, and the United States participated as well. In close cooperation with the Philippine government, a breeding program was set up in 1990. The efforts were crowned with success: in 2015 the population cosisted of 110 individuals. As a consequence, the IUCN now classifies the species "only" as "endangered". However, the animals are under high pressure due to intense hunting, a ongoing habitat destruction. So the protective measures urgently need to be continued.
Indonesia, time-unlimited, since 2014
The Prigen Conservation Breeding Ark (PCBA) has been steadily expanding since 2017 in order to build up reserve populations for various highly threatened species which are in some cases already on the brink of extinction due to constant habitat loss and unregulated wildlife trade. The PCBA is a joint project of the Indonesian Taman Safari Group, ZGAP and Vogelpark Marlow further supported by a number of international zoos and other partners in various projects.
One focus is on the conservation breeding of endangered songbird species, for which over 210 aviaries (as of 2021) are currently available in several complexes. In addition, the PCBA includes aviary complexes for threatened parrot species and galliforms, with a focussing on Red-and-blue lory and White-faced bush quail.
In addition, there are complexes for endangered small mammals, especially for Javan Small-toothed palm civets, but also Javan warty pigs. In addition, the team of currently two curators and ten keepers also takes care of the conservation breeding of endangered labyrinth fish. Facilities for other focus species, including turtles and endangered invertebrates are under construction or in planning to respond to the increasing trade and loss of the respective habitats.
India, time-unlimited, since 2006
The Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) was started in 1995. The focus of this initiative was on the conservation of the species and the protection and renaturation of its habitat. Since 1996, the partners in the programme have been breeding Pygmy Hogs in a very promising approach. By supporting the work of PHCP since 2006, ZGAP has contributed to the successful reintroduction of healthy Pygmy Hogs into the protection areas in Assam. The released animals have been monitored with the help of telemetry, and it could be observed that they have adapted well to living in the wild; encouragingly, they even have given birth to offsprings.
Philippines, time-unlimited, since 1998
In 1998, the Katala Foundation initiated a project on the Philippine island of Palwan to contribute to the conservation of the critically endangered psittacine species. Through intensive guard of nesting trees, feeding of nestlings, reforestation, reintroduction into the former habitat, education of rangers, and awareness programs for local people, the project team was able to achieve an increase in the population from 23 birds in 1998 to more than 350 in 2017.
South Africa, time-unlimited, since 1998
ZGAP was the first conservancy organisation funding operations for the protection of the Riverine Rabbit. From 1998 to 2003, the project was exclusively supported through financial ressources provided by ZGAP, until the South African conservancy organisation "Endangered Wildlife Trust" attended to the rabbit's protection in 2003.
Vietnam/Laos, time-limited, 2013
The Saola is an extremely rare ungulate living in Laos and Vietnam, which was only discovered in 1993. ZGAP provided funding for a Saola Working Group meeting where the participants discussed methods for the location of the last reamining individuals, approaches to reduce poaching with snares, and the chances of an ex situ breeding program. In the course of this meeting, first urgent measures for the conservation of the Saola could be identified. However, the species remains highly endangered and requires strict protection.
Kazakhstan, time-limited, 2016-2017
Initially, two populations of Saiga in Kazakhstan were able to recover thanks to improved protective measures and a decreased economic attraction of commercial poaching. However, in 2014 a mass mortality occurred in the largest Saiga population: around 200,000 of the 230,000 animals died within a few days. The Saiga remains "critically endangered" a requires strict protection.
Tajikistan, time-limited, 2017
The Striped Hyena has become extinct in large parts of its former geographic range including Central Asia. After a video occurred in the internet showing several killed Striped Hyenas in Tajikistan in 2014, we supported a project aiming at the identification of potential distribution areas. With the help of camera traps the existance of the species could be confirmed. Next step is the establishment of a protection area.
Philippines, time-unlimited, since 2013
Almost nothing was known about the current situation of the Tamaraw population in the Philippines, when ZGAP decided to fund the conduction of a scientific excursion to answer a variety of different research questions. In the course of the study, the currently limited range of distribution and a threat from hunting and poaching could be identified. On this basis possible approaches for protective measures were developped that have to be turned into action now. In this context, the focus of the project was also on the indigenous people and their integration into the conservation efforts.
Indonesia, time-limited, 2023
The Togian babirusa is one of two babirusa species supported by ZGAP with corresponding projects. In contrast to the Sulawesi babirusa, it is characterized by a much hairier tail tassel. In addition, the large canine teeth that pierce the upper jaw - common to the species - are not curved, but instead relatively short and curve forward. They are the largest living babirusa species and classified as endangered by the IUCN. The large upper canine teeth, typical for the entire genus, which break through the jaw and in old animals can be so strongly curved that they grow back into the animal's jaw, are rather a status symbol and a secondary sexual characteristic and not suitable for feeding or similar activities.
The Togian babirusa is one of the most poorly researched mammal species in Indonesia. Therefore, our project is primarily intended to gather new data to document its distribution, and to develop further population surveying methods. For this purpose, 100 camera traps are set up and local people will also be involved to collect the relevant data. At the same time, the key characteristics of the habitat will be highlighted and local national park rangers are trained through workshops to help protect the species. Accordingly, there is a close cooperation with the Kepulauan Togean National Park Agency. In addition, citizen scientists are trained locally to assist with research and communication with local authorities and residents.
Tanzania, time-limited, since 2009
The gecko is endemic in Tanzania and dwells exclusively on a single screw pine species (Pandanus rabaiensis). Kimboza Forest, a lowland tropical forest with high levels of biodiversity, is the geckos' main location. The gecko today only remains on big Pandanus screw pines in small patches in the forest. Those tiny last areas of refuge are endangered through forest fires, invasive tree species and illegal logging.
The actual project phase will create and maintain 10 km of fire breaks to stop fires from spreading. The local villagers will be trained and deployed as anti-poaching and forest fire patrols. 50 ha of Kimboza forest area will be cleared from invasive Cedrela odorata saplings. Native Pandanus saplings thus get a change to repopulate those areas. The project therefore supports a future for the local population of humans and geckos.
Philippines, time-unlimited, since 2014
Through the funding of the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Programme (PBCP) ZGAP has been supporting breeding programs for the Visayan Warty Pig and other endemic species of the Visayan Isles in Mari-it Conservation Park since the 1990s. Aim of the program is the long-term protection of the animals' habitat and the reintroduction of offsorings into the natural geographic reange. At the same time, research programs and educational measures for local communities are conducted.
Brasil, time-unlimited, since 1994
Since 1994, ZGAP has been supporting research projects on the biology and the distribution of these critically endangered primates. Based on this data, our partners made suggestions for the establishment of protection areas in which the animals are protected from illegal hunting and further loss of habitat. Aditionally, they seek to gain individuals, that have been kept as pets, for the founding of an ex situ population.
Choose one of the markers on the map for a geographical allocation of some of our projects.