San Diego, California - The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is making a major effort to turn things around for endangered wildlife this year by launching its biggest conservation fundraising campaign to date. The “Let’s Turn Things Around” drive kicked off Friday (FSeptember 22) to commemorate World Rhino Day, with the goal of raising $1 million by the end of the 2017 calendar year.
Individuals can donate by visiting endextinction.org, where they can also learn more about the plight of numerous animal species on the brink of extinction, including the rhino. Money raised through the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy goes to fund the organization’s worldwide efforts to stop the decline of animal populations due to poaching, illegal wildlife trafficking and other human interference.
"Wildlife is disappearing at an alarming rate—rhinos are being killed, penguin homes are being destroyed and elephant families are being torn apart,” said Jeff Spitko, director of membership for San Diego Zoo Global. “We need to act now, before it's too late to save these species. San Diego Zoo Global is leading the fight to end extinction—and through the Let's Turn Things Around campaign, we hope to inspire supporters to join us in that fight and ensure these incredible animals aren't lost forever."
San Diego Zoo Global has worked to develop a comprehensive conservation agenda, maintaining over 140 conservation projects in more than 80 countries. One of its most talked-about programs is its rhino conservation effort. Currently, the organization has one of the most successful rhino breeding programs in the world—with total of 96 southern white rhinos, 70 greater one-horned rhinos and 14 black rhinos born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
To further its commitment to conservation, San Diego Zoo Global built the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, establishing the Safari Park as a sanctuary to protect these rhinos and their offspring—at a time when an average of three rhinos are killed each day in the wild by poachers. Taking a science-based approach, researchers at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, along with collaborators, are developing reproductive techniques necessary to preserve the genetics of various rhino species. Through such technical work, researchers were able to reach a monumental milestone this summer by performing the organization’s first artificial insemination procedure on a rhino. This highly scientific approach is helping researchers learn more about rhino reproduction as they work toward the ultimate goal of successfully producing a northern white rhino—the world’s most critically endangered rhino, with only three individuals remaining in the world.
San Diego Zoo Global has also joined forces with conservation organizations that support the International Rhino Foundation—a United States-based body that promotes “on-the-ground” programs around the globe. This support helps fund conservation and rhino protection units in every country where rhinos are found. For more information on San Diego Zoo Global’s conservation efforts, including the organization’s rhino projects, visit endextinction.org/rhinos.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.