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Citizen Conservation was founded to make a countable contribution in the fight against species extinction

History and Background

The threatening acceleration of species extinction on our planet is one of the great challenges humanity is facing. Coordinated research and captive breeding is an essential element if we are to halt this trend. We still know far too little about many factors of coexistence within habitats to effectively protect these habitats. Understanding species offers a key to this. Where we fail temporarily or completely to conserve habitats, species will be able to persist in human care alone. We bear responsibility for the future of life on Earth. 

Zoos, research institutions and many dedicated private owners have always been committed to the protection of animals and species. In Citizen Conservation, they join forces to counter the new dimension of the threat with a powerful set of instruments.


As a non-profit limited liability company, the Citizen Conservation Foundation pursues exclusively idealistic goals. The articles of association state that the aim is “to contribute to the fight against global species extinction, with a focus on the coordinated conservation breeding in captivity.” Started in 2018 as a joint project of Frogs & Friends, with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde DGHT and the Verband der Zoologischen Gärten VdZ the non-profit limited liability company was founded in 2022 with the three initiators as shareholders


Citizen Conservation is open to all institutions and people who are committed to animal and species conservation and see the current wave of extinction as a challenge for society as a whole.

The following partners contribute financially to the development of Citizen Conservation: Deutsche Tierpark-Gesellschaft e.V., Zoo Köln

The following partners support Citizen Conservation on a professional level: Zoo KölnTiergarten SchönbrunnZoo Schwerin, Museum für Naturkunde BerlinTiergarten NürnbergAllwetterzoo Münster, Zoo Leipzig, Zoo Frankfurt

The following cooperation partners support Citizen Conservation with benefits for CC participants: Six feet to eat

Organizational structure

The shareholders’ meeting, formally the highest body of the gGmbH, is composed of the respective chairmen of the associations, namely Prof. Dr. Jörg Junhold, PD Dr. Mark-Oliver Rödel, Dr. Markus Monzel and Marco Schulz. 

A supervisory board chaired by Dr. Tim Schikora (Director of Schwerin Zoo) was established as a controlling body, in which, in addition to representatives of the shareholders, other key content and financial partners are given a voice.   

The operational business is run under a management agreement in joint operation between Frogs & Friends and Citizen Conservation under the management of Björn Encke. 

The Scientific Advisory Board serves to support the management in the professional and entrepreneurial development of CC. In addition to various individuals, it also includes the respective advisory boards for the individual animal groups. These are composed of private and institutional experts and are significantly involved in the selection of species as well as the design of the CC programs.


The operational business is managed by the CC office in Berlin. Heiko Werning, Vanessa Dubberke and Tina Nagorzanski are in charge of the core content business, animal and participant management on the one hand, and the day-to-day editorial business on the other. Johannes Penner as curator for research & zoology is mainly responsible for higher-level questions of population management and research cooperation, and as project manager for the development of Wild at Home. Otherwise, given the size of the team, it goes without saying that we support and represent each other to the best of our abilities.

Vanessa Dubberke

Vanessa Dubberke

Communication & Coordination Wild at Home
Björn Encke

Björn Encke

Tina Nagorzanski

Tina Nagorzanski

Communication & Management CC#Fish
Johannes Penner

Johannes Penner

Curator Research & Zoology, Management CC#Reptiles
Heiko Werning

Heiko Werning

Communication & Management CC#Amphibians

Members of the Supervisory Board

Dr. Tim Schikora (Chairman)
Director Zoo Schwerin
Saskia Kress (Deputy Chair)
CEO Filmtank GmbH, CEO Interactive Media Foundation
Dr. Markus Monzel
Chairman DGHT (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde)
Marco Schulz
Chairman DGHT (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde)
Dr. Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck
Director Tiergarten Schönbrunn
PD Dr. Mark-Oliver Rödel
Chairman Frogs & Friends
Gert Emmrich
President DTG (Deutsche Tierparkgesellschaft)

Members of the Scientific Advisory Board

Volker Ennenbach
Owner Tropenparadies Oberhausen
Alexander Kühnen
CEO Bahlsen GmbH & Co KG
Dr. Arne Schulze
CEO Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz e.V. (ZGAP)
Dr. Tobias Kohl
CEO Stiftung Artenschutz
Matt Goetz
Head of Herpetology Durrel Wildlife Conservation Trust/Jersey

Amphibian Advisory Board

Prof. Dr. Thomas Ziegler
Curator Aquarium & Koordinator Naturschutzprojekte Kölner Zoo
PD Dr. Tobias Eisenberg
Veterinary specialist in Microbiology Head of Bacteriological and Mycological Diagnostics
Dr. Karl-Heinz Jungfer
private animal keeper
Dr. Axel Kwet
CEO DGHT (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde)
Dr. Joachim Nerz
private animal keeper
Christian Proy
private animal keeper

Fish Advisory Board

Anton Weissenbacher
Curator Tiergarten Schönbrunn
Stefan Inselmann
Project Manager Sander Aqua Design
Ariel Jacken
Seniorcurator Zoo Leipzig
David Kasih
Curator 1000-Arten-Project
Dr. Holger Kraus
Head of Zoology NaturaGart Deutschland
Benjamin Wilden
Project Manager Paroshpromenus Project

Reptile Advisory Board

Dr. Philipp Wagner
Curator for Species Conservation Allwetterzoo Münster
Markus Auer
Collection Manager/Technician, Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden
Gregor Geisler
Private keeper and Veterinary
Felix Hulbert
Private animal keeper & Employee Zoo Frankfurt
Christian Langner
Director International Center for Turtle Conservation, Allwetterzoo Münster
Thomas Lindner
Private animal keeper & Independent herpetological expert
Anna Rauhaus
Head of animal keeping Terrarium Kölner Zoo


If you are interested in participating in Citizen Conservation, we would love to hear from you.