The Edward H. Bean Awards
The Edward H. Bean Award was established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in September, 1956, honoring the first director of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. The AZA presents this award “in recognition of efforts by Institution, Related Facility, and International Facility members in the management and husbandry of various animal species in their care.”
The Minnesota Zoo received its first Bean Award along with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and the National Zoo for the long-term conservation and propagation program for Panthera tigris(tigers), presented at the AZA Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
All three zoos combined their respective strengths and resources to assume leading roles in comprehensive and innovative species management programs that will be critical factors in the survival of the species. This program reflects the evolving role that individual zoos and the AZA are playing and will continue to play in the preservation of endangered species.
These institutions provided the primary resources for investigations of the reproductive physiology of tigers producing the first in-vitro fertilized tiger (1990) and the first artificially inseminated tiger (1991). They also assumed leadership roles in support of in situ conservation projects including providing personnel and resources to assist in the development of a comprehensive conservation program for wild Sumatran tigers in Indonesia.
In addition these institutions have maintained stable species management programs for long-term captive propagation of tigers, developed concepts for animal management to improve the care and display of the species, and addressed numerous management concerns. As part of this combined effort, the Minnesota Zoo coordinates the Tiger SSP , and maintains the Amur Tiger Studbook, the latter expanding to include the Sumatran and Malayan Tiger Studbooks.
The Minnesota Zoo received its 2nd Bean Award in 2000 for its long-term propagation of the American pronghorn, Antilocapra americana at the AZA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. Our zookeepers initiated a hand-raising procedure for 122 fawns, which are considered difficult to maintain in captivity due to temperament and medical conditions.
The Minnesota Zoo received its 3rd Bean Award in 2015 for its long-term Tiger conservation program.
“If there is one animal most closely associated with our Zoo, it is the tiger,” says Minnesota Zoo Interim Director and President Kevin Willis. “Generations of Minnesotans have had the opportunity to see and experience Amur tigers thanks to the Zoo’s long-term commitment to the species. From our large, immersive habitats to our well-publicized management, breeding and conservation efforts, the Zoo’s efforts to champion the critical needs of this majestic animal are effectively educating and inspiring our guests to action.”
Continues Willis: “Within the accredited Zoo community, the Tiger Species Survival Plan and its Tiger Conservation Campaign are models for the continued growth and impact of effective breeding, management and conservation programs. These programs successfully merge the dual needs for internal management of the highest standards and external efforts to address the critical issues facing tigers in the wild.
Collaborative partners on the program include: IUCN/SSC’s Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.
AZA International Conservation Awards
The International Conservation Award is presented each year by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for recognition of outstanding dedication to international conservation issues and development of natural resources.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) honored the Minnesota Zoo with a Significant Achievement Award in Conservation for its program development of an Indonesian conservation strategy for captive and wild Sumatran tigers. The award was presented during the association’s annual conference in Omaha, Nebraska.
Habitat loss, declining prey availability, poaching, and other factors have caused wild populations of Sumatran tigers to become fragmented into small isolated populations particularly at risk from disease, genetic drift, and inbreeding. The critical status of wild Sumatran tigers emphasizes the need for effective captive tiger programs to reinforce wild populations. Thus, the Minnesota Zoo set out to develop a captive breeding program based in Indonesia as a means to integrate wild-caught problem Sumatran tigers as new genetic founders into the captive population.
A workshop was held in Indonesia, in conjunction with the construction of a captive tiger breeding facility to train Indonesian zoo staff in husbandry and veterinary techniques, to establish a Regional Sumatran Tiger Studbook, and to develop a Sumatran Tiger Master plan for Indonesia.
In addition a Sumatran Tiger Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) workshop was held in Indonesia to quantitatively assess wild tiger populations in the major protected areas of Sumatra and to evaluate the effectiveness of various management strategies on the long-term viability of these populations. An action plan was drafted which outlined short-term and long-term goals to manage wild tiger populations. The development of wild tiger management strategies and the formation of a strong captive tiger program led to the creation of a comprehensive Indonesian Sumatran Tiger Conservation Strategy to insure the long-term survival of wild tigers.
The AZA honored the Minnesota Zoo with its second International Conservation Award for our successful Adopt-A-Park Program situated in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. The award was presented during the annual conference in Seattle, Washington.
The AZA honored the Minnesota Zoo with its third International Conservation Award for our successful Sumatran Tiger Project. The award was presented during the 75th annual conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Minnesota Zoo received this award along with 14 other accredited zoos who cooperatively participated in the “Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program.”
Missing from the landscape for the last half of this century, Mexican gray wolves are recovering in the mountains of the southwestern United States thanks to the efforts of the institutions and organizations that comprise the Mexican gray wolf recovery program. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began releasing wolves back into the wild in March 1998. Today there is a minimum of 36 free-ranging wild wolves, many of them wild born offspring of wolves contributed by AZA institutions. There are over 260 Mexican gray wolves in captive breeding facilities throughout the United States and Mexico.
The 15 AZA accredited zoos that participate in the Recovery Program include: Albuquerque Biological Park, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Dakota Zoo, El Paso Zoo, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, the Minnesota Zoo, Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, Phoenix Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo, Utica Zoo, Wild Canid Survival and Research Center, and Zoo New England.
The Minnesota Zoo was awarded its forth International Conservation Award by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for its Sumatran Tiger Conservation Program. The mission of the Sumatran Tiger Conservation Program (STCP) was to assist the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry to secure a future for Sumatran tigers.
In 2013, the AZA honored the Minnesota Zoo with its fifth International Conservation Award for its science-based management of black rhino conservation and tourism on Namibia’s communal lands.
From 1970 – 1990, over 95% of the world’s black rhino were extirpated to supply an illegal global trade in rhino horn. The largest free-ranging black rhino population persists mainly on unprotected lands in Namibia’s remote northwest Kunene region. In Kunene, the Minnesota Zoo and Namibian partners, Save the Rhino Trust and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, have been addressing these challenges by adopting a more science- based, community-centered approach to rhino management.
The collective effort combines science with innovative local engagement strategies that have maintained population growth and range expansion while also keeping poachers at bay.
At the 42nd meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) standing committee in Portugal, the CITES Tiger Missions Technical Team Report was submitted. It said, in comparison to all current tiger projects now underway in the 14 tiger range counties of Southeast Asia, the Sumatran Tiger Project’s field activities were characterized as being “methodical, scientific and accurate. The CITES team commends the Project and recommends its extension in Indonesia and use by other Parties wherever habitat is deemed suitable” (CITES Report, 1999). The Technical Team also commented on the tiger protection efforts of our specialized anti-poaching units in Way Kambas National Park, stating “The team commends the work of these units who operate in difficult, hazardous and physically demanding terrain. The combination of effective enforcement, crime-intelligence gathering and scientific data collection is laudable”.
The Minnesota Zoo and the staff of the Sumatran Tiger Project received the 1999 21st Century Tiger Conservation Award for its comprehensive and long-standing in situ conservation program for Sumatran tigers in Indonesia. The 21st Century Tiger program is sponsored by the Zoological Society of London, UK.
The Minnesota Zoo was awarded the 2002 International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators Conservation Award for its work raising funds during its “World of Birds” show for BioBrasil, a non-profit environmental organization based in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The award is presented annually to an organization that does an outstanding job of supporting conservation efforts.