We share our finite blue planet with about 8.7 million other species of plants and animals, with untold others waiting to be discovered. Well over 7 billion people exist, with that number climbing every minute. As land use shifts from biodiverse “natural” areas to farming, logging, and human settlements, wildlife is pushed into smaller and smaller areas, often isolated from one another.
This spells disaster for a species’ gene pool, as well as the environment. It will also have a detrimental effect on our own survival—humans are not immune to the impacts of destabilized or destroyed ecosystems. We all need clean air and fresh water to survive.
At San Diego Zoo Global, we are committed to using science-based techniques and fostering collaboration and cooperation to save species from extinction. It is an audacious goal, but one that we can achieve with your support.
Help us regain healthy, thriving ecosystems with sustainable populations of wildlife. Together, we can do it, one species at a time.
While conservation challenges of the 21st century are unprecedented, our global reach and science-based determination are undaunted. San Diego Zoo Global is leading the fight against extinction by taking a leadership role and collaborating with others to save species from extinction.
Saving the Bamboo Bear
Just 20 years ago, it was thought that the giant panda could not be saved. Its numbers were dwindling, its habitat shrinking, and people knew little about the bears’ habits and needs. But years of cooperative work with scientists in China, and observing and learning from our pandas at the Zoo, have led to successful breeding of pandas and helped nudge this beloved animal away from extinction. Our supporters have played a key role in saving this bear—and many other species—for generations to come.
Back from the Brink
The Arabian oryx, with its sandy-blonde coat and long, slender horns, was hunted to near extinction in the 1960s. A collaborative conservation effort collected oryx from Saudi Arabia to try to save the species. A group of these desert-dwelling antelope eventually moved to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where they successfully bred. Since the 1970s, over 350 Arabian oryx have been born at the Safari Park. In the 1980s, 6 moves relocated 20 Arabian oryx back to Oman for reintroduction into their desert home. Over time, these animals adapted to their harsh homeland and successfully reproduced. In 2011, international news coverage declared the species “officially saved in the wild.”
One of the most iconic conservation success stories concerns a large, inquisitive, social vulture species: the California condor. When this regal bird was down to 22 individuals in the 1980s, researchers gathered up the survivors and brought them into zoos for breeding. Some people were opposed to this level of interference, but for the condor to survive, drastic measures were needed. Happily, our collaborative Condor Conservation Program has succeeded in hatching more than 180 chicks, and there are now over 400 California condors in the world, with half of them flying free in their native habitat.
Iguana Conservation to the Rescue
The Caribbean's Anegada iguanas are among the most endangered lizards on Earth. Over the past 20 years, we have helped save multiple iguana species from extinction. We have helped pioneer strategies for headstarting juvenile rock iguanas so predators like feral cats cannot kill them. We have re-established thriving iguana populations to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where they had gone extinct. We have returned over 180 headstarted iguanas to the wild on Anegada, nearly doubling the wild population. We have succeeded in breeding the most critically endangered iguanas in the world at our off-exhibit Griffin Reptile Conservation Center. All this work for cold-blooded animals is sure to warm anyone’s heart!
Thanks to our members and supporters, we are working on 132 conservation projects across more than 35 countries. We have helped to reintroduce 43 species to the wild: 16 mammal species, 19 bird species, and 8 species of reptiles and amphibians.
Wildlife is endangered, but you can help save them! Our supporters have helped save California condors, giant pandas, rhinos, mountain yellow-legged frogs, Hawaiian birds, and many other imperiled species. Starting at just 33 cents a day, you can become a Wildlife Hero. Remember, extinction is forever.