Who or what is ZGAP?

ZGAP is the acronym for "Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz" which in English translates to "Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations" ...

ZGAP and its aims

The aim of ZGAP is first and foremost the conservation of little known threatened animal species and their habitats.

While people interested in wildlife conservation know that the survival of mountain gorillas, giant pandas or polar bears is threatened, there are thousands of other species facing extinction whose names are hardly known even to experts.

In the recent past even some large vertebrate animal species have been extirpated, unnoticed by the public, because these creatures were little known or did not attract enough attention.

Since the launch of our organization, however, a number of projects have been initiated, and exemplary results often achieved through international participation.

ZGAP has initiated and co-financed a number of programs which are still ongoing, notable among which are the efforts to preserve the Visayan (Philippine) spotted deer (Rusa alfredi), the establishment of a rescue and breeding center for illegally traded and confiscated primates in Vietnam, and a research and conservation project for one of South Africa’s least known and most threatened mammals, the riverine rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis).

The ZGAP parrot working group established a special fund and also manages the “Strunden Parrots Foundation” which supported projects for many psittacine species, including the citron-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata), red-tailed amazon (Amazona brasiliensis), yellow-eared conure (Ognorhynchus icterotis)  and red and blue lory (Eos histrio), among others.

Involving local experts and encouraging them to assume responsibility for the projects is one of the fundamental strategies of our organization.

Cost-effectiveness in implementing our projects is an important criterion, as is enabling motivated young people to take part in the conservation work for endangered species, thus allowing new generations of conservationists to grow up and contribute to maintaining the biodiversity in their home countries now and in future.

Overall management and supervision of projects and activities is primarily on a voluntary basis, organized through a reporting and publication system which culminates in our widely acknowledged bi-annual magazine “ZGAP Mitteilungen”.

Cooperation with IUCN is via ZGAP executive personnel and board members, several of whom are members of IUCN/SSC Specialist Groups. This generates an atmosphere of trust and confidence that the right priorities are being set and funds of our sponsors properly allocated to internationally recognized conservation activities.

If you would like to support our efforts, please click here.

About the history of ZGAP

ZGAP was founded in 1982 by a group of committed conservationists headed by Roland Wirth, who acted as President of the society for 30 years.

When ZGAP became interested in the Visayan spotted deer, not many people had heard of this species, nor was it, at that time, recorded in the official international IUCN Red List of endangered species. Our investigations revealed, however, that this animal was on the brink of extinction. This species is one of many that had just been “forgotten”. Ever since ZGAP, in cooperation with a growing number of experts and zoos in Europe, Australia and the USA has worked intensively to save the Visayan spotted deer. In close cooperation with the Philippine government a breeding program to preserve this species was started in 1990, and the managed international and European conservation breeding population has now grown to about 150 animals.

Following in the footsteps of this flagship program, activities for various other threatened species were developed in the Philippines. ZGAP helped to initiate a project to investigate the endangered cat-sized cloud rats (Phloeomys spp., Crateromys spp.), which are among the largest and most unusual murid rodents in the world. Conservation activities for flying foxes (Pteropus and Acerodon spp.), the Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), the Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), hornbill species (Penelopides spp., Aceros spp.), bleeding heart pigeons (Gallicolumba spp.), Philippine eagle owl (Bubo philippensis) and sailfin lizards (Hydrosaurus ssp.) have also been initiated and will be continued on a long-term basis.

In cooperation with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), ZGAP – as one of the first international conservation NGOs working in Vietnam at that time – helped survey a number endangered primate species such as Delacour’s langur (Trachypithecus delacouri) or Douc langurs (Pygathrix spp.) in that country.

ZGAP’s initiative to assess the population status of endangered hoofed animals in the politically volatile region of the Horn of Africa, and thereby to record basic data for future conservation efforts, has found international acclaim. In various surveys since 1997, data have been collected on the dibatag (Ammodorcas clarkei), an antelope species endemic to the Ogaden of South-East Ethiopia and neighboring Somalia, and the beira (Dorcatragus megalotis) in Djibouti. Assessments of the status of the remaining Swayne’s hartebeests (Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei) in their last small retreat of just a few square miles in Central Ethiopia and of Tora hartebeests (Alcelaphus buselaphus tora) as a basis of conservation efforts were conducted and co-financed.

In cooperation with the Allwetterzoo Münster, ZGAP in 2000 founded the “International Centre for the Conservation of Turtles” – a unique center for the conservation breeding of critically endangered Asian turtles.

ZGAP is a national non-governmental organization member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), associated member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), of the German-based Association of Zoological Gardens (VDZ), and of the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) and of the Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP)! Further, ZGAP coopertates with a number of other conservation NGOs worldwide!

If you would like to support our efforts, please click here.