AZA Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project

Join us in bringing hope to Florida’s Coral Reef.

The AZA-Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project (AZA-FRTRP) is an AZA member-driven coral rescue and conservation network focused on the rescue, housing and future propagation of Florida corals affected by stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD). Scientists don’t yet know what is causing SCTLD, so to preserve the genetic diversity of these corals, FRTRP member organizations are caring for rescued corals so they may one day be released back into the wild.

Learn more about how zoos and aquariums are partnering with Federal and State agencies to address this devastating issue.

Coral reefs are less than 1% of ocean habitats. They are among the most biologically diverse places on Earth. The Florida Reef Tract is experiencing a disease outbreak in stony corals. This infection is spreading rapidly over a wide range. It is impacting multiple species and causing an alarming loss of life.

Local and national agencies developed a plan to protect these animals. Healthy corals are being placed in land-based facilities with coral care expertise. Riverbanks was among the first to respond to this crisis. The corals in our care will help preserve genetic diversity and help in future restoration efforts on the Florida Reef Tract.

Infographic of the Florida Reef Tract Stony Coral Disease Occurence

Scientific teams rescued more than 2,000 healthy corals from Florida reefs. To develop treatments for this disease, researchers must first discover its cause. The hope is to better understand and prevent further spread of the disease.

Some corals in Riverbank’s care have produced offspring. These small colonies will be important to the restoration of the reefs.