Together We Protect

27 setembro 2022

Just over 30 years ago, a group concerned about the possible extinction of a growing number of species decided to organise themselves in order to create a European instrument for their protection.

This is how the EEP – European Endangered Species Programme was born, allowing the reproduction of several individuals to be optimised in an ethical, scientific and genetically responsible manner. Shortly afterwards, following this concerted effort by several European entities, zoo professionals and scientists, EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, was born. This month, precisely 30 years after the birth of EAZA, almost a thousand specialists from almost all over the world will come to the Algarve, to gather, with the support and coordination of Zoomarine, in its 30th annual congress.

The work will take place at the NAU Salgados Palace Hotel (congress centre), between 27th September and 1st October, and should be attended by 925 participants – international specialists from 70-80 countries, from more than 400 organisations, spread over such distinct and complementary areas as Rehabilitation, Reproduction and Genetics, Veterinary Medicine, Nature Conservation, Natural Sciences, Environmental Education, zoological management, legislation, regulatory bodies, et cetera.

Meanwhile, on 29 September, the day of the official visit to Zoomarine (the host), congress participants will have the opportunity to visit behind the scenes of the park, meet the national experts, study the conservation, science and education projects and, of course, glimpse many of the specimens that are involved in EAZA’s special breeding programmes – the EEP and ESB.

In order to celebrate such an honorable presence, and the fact that this is the first time the annual EAZA congress is held in Portugal, also on September 29th the congress participants will participate in an action of returning a rehabilitated bird, in a joint action between Zoomarine and RIAS (Olhão Wild Animals Research and Recovery Centre), the entity that was elected as the recipient of the amount collected during the Silent Auction that will take place that same evening.

Finally, on the same day, congress participants will have the honour of witnessing the planting of a rare Monchique Oak, a tree species critically endangered in Portugal (it is estimated that there are less than 300 specimens), thus formally inaugurating the Zoomarine Botanical Garden – an additional and sustained step in the Nature Conservation mission of the educational entertainment oceanographic park founded in 1991.

In these times of increasing urgency regarding the issues of climate change, the 6th mass extinction of species and so many international geopolitical uncertainties, it is comforting to know that so many entities and so many experts remain united and so strongly committed to a mission that increasingly pushes and encourages us to join efforts, knowledge and hearts …

… because the species need it, because the Planet requires it – and because this is the only way it makes sense for those who dedicate their lives to the Natural World and to Science, since, definitively, TOGETHER WE PROTECT – “Together We Protect”.

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