From the Chairman, Species360 Board of Trustees: How Species360 is safeguarding service levels and financial health during the COVID-19 crisis
Dear Species360 Member,
As zoos and aquariums worldwide respond to the current pandemic and begin to evaluate re-opening procedures, we know that the impacts of this crisis will be felt for years to come. Almost universally, our community has been thrust into unknown territory and members are facing resource constraints and financial uncertainty.
Species360’s top priorities during this time are to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its employees, and to support its members. Working remotely from home, Species360 staff are responding to member needs, helping zoo and aquarium staff deliver animal care and welfare, and continuing with ZIMS development, data services management, conservation science programs, and administration.
Going forward, every effort will be needed to ensure the safety and well-being of members’ staff, the animals in our care, and our communities. To that end, Species360 leadership took immediate action to safeguard key service levels and to support the financial health of Species360 to protect the memberships’ long-term investment in our global conservation databank. The Species360 Board of Trustees has approved these actions:
1/ A temporary suspension of the 4% annual renewal fee increase that was initiated by our board 4 years ago. This suspension is applied upon renewal for all of our 1,200 members.
2/ Anticipating a potential significant negative impact in revenue, the Species360 leadership team took several measures to ensure that the organization remains financially sustainable.
- Species360 senior leadership have voluntarily taken a 20 to 30 percent reduction in salary, effective immediately.
- Species360 is participating in the CARES Act Loan to Grant program and receiving financial support from other U.S. federal government COVID response resources.
- Similar to many members, Species360 eliminated all travel and other non-essential expenses.
- Beginning in July, most of the Species360 team will move to 80 percent hours and salary for 12 weeks.
- Species360 will evaluate additional budget cuts which could impact pay or staffing levels, but with a focus on maintaining key service levels and member support.
3/ Species360 staff will continue to work remotely from home until it is safe to return to an office environment.
4/ To support member staff working remotely, Species360 Member Support, Training, and Product Leaders expanded online learning platforms, including ZIMS for Husbandry, Medical, and Studbooks webinars, Zoom work sessions, and virtual Open Office Hours with husbandry, medical, and studbooks experts. The standard training fee in many cases is waived. Members can find new Species360 events here and schedule individualized learning by emailing Support@Species360.org.
5/ We continue to welcome new members, although at a much slower pace. With eight consecutive years of growth and more than 1,200 institutional members in 99 countries, the Species360 community is strong. While we are not focused on growing at this time, we have continued to respond to incoming member requests.
6/ We will continue to communicate news and developments throughout the months ahead, through letters like this one, at the Species360 blog, and in Species360 Member News.
We feel we have the right plans in place to support the membership and protect the memberships’ data assets. Our priority remains focused on our mission of improving the welfare of animals and curating and sharing critical data with those who are leading efforts to save species. Together, we will succeed.
Cheng Wen-Haur, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Species360, and Deputy CEO and Chief of Life Sciences, Wildlife Reserves Singapore
If you have questions or concerns, please contact any one of your Species360 board trustees.
The member-elected Species360 Board of Trustees sets policies and direction for the organization. The Board is made up of zoo and aquarium directors from around the world, and representatives from regional associations. Trustees serve three-year terms, which may be repeated once, for a total of six years of service.