Founded in 1988, Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit coalition of zoos, aquariums, and related partners dedicated to promoting wildlife and habitat conservation throughout the Americas. The group accomplishes its core mission by developing conservation leadership capacity in Latin American zoological institutions and providing direct technical, material, and financial support to collaborative, zoo and aquarium-based conservation programs. The former is achieved by providing access to information and training opportunities through a well-coordinated Conservation Training Scholarship Program, while the latter is accomplished by pooling technical, material, and financial support from North American partners and delivering these resources to our counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin.
In a recent report, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) listed Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG) as its 5th most referenced conservation partner,* and the success of ZCOG’s Conservation Training Scholarship Program has been highlighted in numerous publications, including the AZA’s Connect magazine.
*Out of 582 conservation partners referenced by reporting association members.
Andres Capdevielle, Principal Investigator and Coordinator of the Solitary Crowned Eagle Conservation Project in Argentina (PCRAR)--one of ZCOG's regional program partners.
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Professional capacity building and wildlife conservation project development and enhancement are the two major program areas through which the ZCOG pursues its organizational mission.
Professional capacity building is accomplished through the group’s Conservation Training Scholarship Program, which provides financial assistance in the form of scholarship awards to help train Latin America’s future conservation leaders. Since 2000, the group has awarded nearly $200,000.00 USD in scholarship funding to over one hundred zoo and aquarium professionals from fourteen different countries Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. These awards have allowed Latin American zoo, aquarium, and conservation professionals to participate in international conferences, workshops, and training courses, including AZA conferences and professional training program courses. Today, ZCOG and its partners provide more scholarship funding for AZA Professional Training Program courses than any other organization.
Project development and enhancement is accomplished through the group’s Conservation Program, which serves as an entry vehicle through which North American zoological institutions can become partners in wildlife and habitat conservation projects in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. ZCOG has awarded over $250,000.00 USD in funding to Latin American zoo and aquarium –based animal management and field research programs, including programs that help protect species like the Andean Condor, Chilean Flamingo, Giant Armadillo, and many others. ZCOG also represents these programs to the North American zoo and aquarium community, serving as a coordinating, fundraising, and financial administrative agent. This allows program researchers to focus their energies on what matters most--protecting wildlife!
ZCOG has been an official Conservation Partner of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) since 1998.
ZCOG is headquartered at the offices of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) in Silver Spring, MD.
The Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana is ZCOG’s official Host Institution and largest supporter. ZCOG was headquartered at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans from 1988-2005.