Conservation Influencers

Species 360

Bloomington, MN, USA

Species360 (formerly known as International Species Inventory System or ISIS) was founded in 1974 by 55 Zoos in Europe and the United States. According to its website, its mission is to ‘facilitate international collaboration in the collection and sharing of knowledge on animals and their environments for zoos, aquariums and related conservation organizations’. It rebranded itself as Species360 in 2016, the same year as it welcomed its 1,000th member: totaling zoos, aquariums, educational institutions and regional associations in 90 countries on six continents.

Species360’s Conservation Science Alliance, led by its Director of Science Dalia Conde, conducts population and environmental impact research. Its Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) determines best practices in caring for individual and groups of species managed by Species360’s membership. 

On behalf of CITES, Species 360 manages the Turtle and Tortoise Demographic Trade Database, which compiles life-history data for 194 CITES-listed turtles and tortoises. Species 360 also manages CITES’ Asian Big Cats in Captivity Database and helps CITES track whether protected species were actually bred in captivity or illegally obtained in the wild.

Species360 is an International Champion of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime. Since 2020, Species360 has been trying to persuade CITES to amend its Convention to include, in its words, ‘public and animal health criteria into its decision making, thereby taking a One Health approach to wildlife trade’. 

Leaders

Chief Executive Officer Jim Guenter heads a senior management team of six other staff. 

Governance

This organization is governed by its members, and some external trustees. They are appointed either in an election system overseen by its Board of Trustees or, in the case of member associations, such as Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), they have a permanent seat on the Board.

Finance

According to one report, Species360’s estimated annual revenue is currently USD 3.3 million per year. 

About the directory

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.

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In 1906, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) put an African man on display in Bronx Zoo’s Monkey House. In 1918, one of WCS’s founding fathers, Madison Grant, published Passing of the Great Race, which Adolf Hitler referred to as his ‘Bible’. Another leading creator and early leader of WCS, Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr, was also a founder of the American Eugenics Society. His son headed WCS from 1940 to 1968, overseeing a series of major initiatives in Africa. There, WCS became one of the architects of the prohibition movement, which put wildlife for consumptive use and vast regions of land out of bounds to humanity. In 2020, WCS distanced itself in public from the racist views of Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr. But it has yet to issue a critical account of the legacy of Fairfield Osborn Jr, even though he led WCS into the modern era while sharing similar politically-inspired ecological goals to his father and Grant. WCS devotes considerable financial resources to influencing outcomes at CITES. WCS’s CEO reportedly earns USD$1,320,978.

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