An amphibian conservation planner will make the Brevard Zoo his “home zoo” while he works to encourage action and awareness of the ongoing extinction crisis facing the group of animals.
Luis Carrillo is a wildlife veterinarian who has over 20 years of experience working with zoos in Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico. He currently collaborates as a training officer for Amphibian Ark (AArk), a nonprofit working to help critically endangered amphibian species.
AArk has wanted to work more closely with U.S. facilities caring for amphibian species, making this partnership with Brevard Zoo ideal. Brevard Zoo showed the strong conservation and education ethic and commitment AArk wanted in a partner organization.
“Brevard Zoo is an institution with a lot of passion and energy that you feel anytime you talk to the Zoo’s staff,” Carrillo said. “Brevard Zoo is committed in several ways to species conservation, especially with local endangered species, a focus we share when dealing with amphibian conservation: act local.”
While at Brevard Zoo, Carrillo’s goals are to expand and nurture AArk’s training programs as well as to encourage more Florida zoos to get involved in local amphibian conservation.
One-third to one-half of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction. AArk focuses on amphibian species that cannot currently be safeguarded in their natural environments. The organization encourages zoos, aquariums, universities and other facilities to commit with rescue programs as well as partnering with other institutions to mitigate and manage current threats in the wild. The goal is to reestablish these species in the wild after the issues endangering them are addressed.
“It is a perfect storm where habitat loss and degradation, diseases, and climate change are aligned and impacted hard on these fragile animals,” Carrillo said.
This partnership also offers Brevard Zoo the opportunity to expand its international conservation efforts as well as its amphibian programs, among other goals.
“Having Luis join our team and Brevard Zoo becoming the home zoo for Amphibian Ark has a variety of incredible benefits,” said Jody Palmer, Brevard Zoo’s Director of Conservation. “I’m most excited about being able to make an impact for amphibians in need here in Florida and expanding our ongoing efforts to save species right in our backyards.”