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Grants to USA Captive Care Facilities to Cover Costs Incurred During COVID-19

Endangered Species COVID-19 Relief


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Deadline: 06/21/23 11:59 PM Eastern Time Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA and territories captive care facilities to cover costs incurred during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Funding is intended to relieve the financial burden of caring for confiscated and rescued plants and animals during the pandemic. This opportunity is considered a reimbursement program, intended to replace funds that were expended for the care of rescued and confiscated wildlife and for the care of U.S. native threatened and endangered species if all eligibility criteria are met.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) entered into a cooperative agreement with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to reimburse eligible facilities that cared for native endangered and threatened species and rescued and confiscated wildlife and that experienced earned revenue declines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This cooperative agreement represents round two of funding for this purpose. The three categories of care eligible for reimbursement in this new opportunity are:

  1. US  native plant and animal species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 
  2. US native animal species listed under the ESA that were rescued from the wild and U.S. native marine mammals rescued from the wild regardless of ESA status 
  3. Animals listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA and/or species listed in the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) confiscated by the U.S. Government at, or destined for, US ports and borders and held in animal care facilities

Round two reimbursements will be prioritized as follows:

  1. Applicants that did not apply in Round 1 (capped at $1 million)
  2. Applications from Round 1 recipients that submit additional reimbursement requests (including applications for marine mammals rescued from the wild) and that have not hit the $1 million reimbursement cap in Round 1
  3. The overage for each application that exceeded $1 million in eligible reimbursements that were capped in Rounds 1 and 2.  No new application is needed for previous applicants that exceeded $1 million unless there are additional requests for reimbursements (eg., marine mammals rescued from the wild).  Overage reimbursements will only be available if there are funds available after Priorities #1 and #2 are met. If the total of these overages exceed remaining funds, the overages will be pro-rated.

Allowable reimbursable expenses related to the three captive care categories include: food; veterinary care and medicines; direct care staff time; critical life support systems; transport for medical, reintroduction into the wild and captive breeding purposes; real property debt and holding space improvements/modifications; and utilities essential for care of species (e.g., electricity, gas, natural gas) to power essential services. Comparable expenses for care of native ESA-listed plants are allowable for submissions under the first captive care category. 


Additional Eligibility Criteria
- Facilities incorporated in the United States and territories that cared for US native endangered and threatened species and/or rescued and confiscated wildlife, and that experienced at least a 25% decline in earned revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible

- For the purposes of eligibility, the care that was provided must have been done at the applicant's facility, while the specimens were held in a controlled environment.
- Eligible facilities do not have to be AZA accredited or certified to be eligible to receive reimbursements.

See more information about eligibility at this link:

The following are ineligible for funding:
- Costs that do not directly relate to animal care
- Care of non-native species
- Design costs
- Facilities that are outside the US, US territories, or commonwealths

Pre-Application Information
Submission deadline: June 21, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

This is Round 2 of a program to provide reimbursements to eligible facilities.

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant
The maximum funding request per facility is capped at $1 million (which includes Round 1 reimbursements); however, facilities are encouraged to submit all allowable costs associated with the three captive care categories. If total eligible reimbursement requests for Round 2 exceed the amount available, distribution of funding will be pro-rated.

Term of Contract
The applicable period covered by the ESCR grant for reimbursement expenses is March 2020 through May 2021.

Contact Information
The application should be sent by email to:

Association of Zoos and Aquariums
8403 Colesville Rd., Suite 710
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3314
Phone: 301-562-0777

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