Endangered Species

10 Reasons for Hope

Achieving success in protecting rare species and their habitats takes the efforts of trained experts working collaboratively, often on limited funds and against a ticking clock.  When combined with the support of people and governments who believe that saving wild animals and spaces is important, hard won triumphs can occur.

On Endangered Species Day, May 21st this year, the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research celebrated by launching its new initiative, “10 Reasons for Hope.”

Red Colobus monkeyThe 10 Reasons for Hope are success stories, worth celebrating as they brighten the landscape for endangered animals.  Both wild and captive populations have benefitted from the Zoo’s efforts, from Kangaroo Rats and California Condors in the Zoo’s backyard to the Ebo Forest in Central Africa.

Kangaroo Rats, reputed to have such efficient kidneys that they never have to drink, are enjoying their sixth generation managed by the Zoo.  They live in the native bunch grass and chaparral habitat the animals need for food and cover, in southern California.  Diminutive may be a good description for them, however they play an important role in their ecosystem by helping to distribute seeds.

Condor with spread wingsThe San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park produced the first condor chick from among the 22 birds that the population had been reduced to 20 years ago.  Today there are 180 condors in the wild and 169 in breeding centers.

San Diego Zoo’s Native Seed Bank has collected and stored almost 23% of the area’s native plant species, which will help preserve the area’s 1,500 native plant species, the most endangered of any county in the continental United States.

Internationally, the Zoo is successfully managing projects that are helping to research endangered primates and upgrade the Ebo Forest in northern central Africa to a national park.

Giant PandaThey are also helping restore Giant Panda, frog, and elephant populations.  As well, they are helping to connect American children to nature, rather than letting the trend continue unabated of children spending most of their time inertly parked in front of an indoor computer.

Great photos and details of the 10 Reasons for Hope are on the San Diego Zoo’s website.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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