Through the Moody Gardens Conservation Fund we are able to support a large number of local and global field conservation efforts. These range from efforts to protect our local sea turtles to saving African penguins across the globe. Each year we contribute funds, time and expertise to help protect and preserve animals and habitats. Our conservation fund is generated from our Penguin Encounters, Seal and Penguin Experience, penguin art and our newly developed Giant Otter Experience. In 2014/2015 Moody Gardens contributed over $90,000 worth of conservation support.
Working with different organizations, Moody Gardens® has provided assistance whenever possible aiding in the recovery and release of sea turtles, fish and other marine animals as they return to the wild. In the Aquarium Pyramid®, guests will find rescued Kemp’s Ridley turtles, loggerhead turtles, seals and more.
As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Moody Gardens® wants to help ensure the continued survival of selected wildlife species. One of the ways Moody Gardens® and other institutions help is by participating in Species Survival Plans or SSPs. This is a cooperative effort made by zoos and aquariums around the country to help maintain healthy captive populations of endangered species. Currently, Moody Gardens® is involved in a variety of SSP programs, including the Pink Pigeon, Ocelot, Scarlet Ibis, Fairy Bluebird, and Two-Toed Sloth.
For decades, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival, and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the American bison, the California condor and a variety of aquatic species. Through SAFE, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will convene scientists and stakeholders globally to identify the factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.
As an AZA accredited facility, Moody Gardens works in conjunction with other accredited zoos and aquariums to achieve conservation goals. Moody Gardens has been a long term financial supporter of the Lake Victoria Species Survival Plan (LVSSP) program. More importantly, Moody Gardens is a primary breeding facility working to propagate many species of these endangered fishes endemic to Lake Victoria in Africa. The AZA LVSSP works to ensure that there are sustainable captive populations while working on in-situ conservation, education and habitat assessment/restoration.
Moody Gardens supports several penguin conservation projects around the world. Contributions to SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds), St. Louis Zoo Humbolt penguin project, ACOREMA in South America, Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust T, Global Penguin Society and others help researchers and educators protect penguin populations. Moody Gardens also sent staff to Punta San Juan in Peru to work with local biologists to census the Humbolt penguin population and monitoring the guano harvest to insure negligible impacts on those populations.
Scientific divers have participated in invasive mussel surveys with researchers from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and have assisted with fish population and habitat surveys for NOAA field office in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Moody Gardens has also assisted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) with long-term monitoring programs known as “Rigs to Reefs” and “Ships to Reefs” over the past few years. As an American Academy of Underwater Science (AAUS) Organizational Member, we are able to support and partner with a multitude of academic, governmental and non-governmental research entities through diving reciprocity developed via on-site programs.