JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens received a 2012 Top Honors Award for International Conservation.
The award comes for the zoo's support of the Grevy's Zebra Trust and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA): A Model of Collaborative Endangered Species Conservation, according to a news release from the Jacksonville Zoo.
The Jacksonville Zoo, the release said, is one of 26 AZA-member facilities that collaborated to help make an impact on the endangered Grevy's Zebra.
The release said the population of the Grevy's Zebra, which can only be found in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, has declined drastically over the past 30 years.
The release said it is estimated there are less than 2,500 left in the wild due to illegal killing, loss of habitat, access to water, disease and drought.
The AZA is working with the local communities where Grevy's Zebras are found to cooperatively manage and to establish breeding programs at zoos around the world.
Tony Vecchio, Executive Director of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, said, "It has been a great honor for our zoo to be part of this team that is made up of some of the very best zoos in the country. The Grevy's Zebra Trust has had marvelous success in working to preserve this iconic species."
This is the fifth year of existence for the trust and many of the zoos are applauding the success they have seen in such a short period of time, the release said.