More than 200 institutions have joined forces to protect animals from getting extinct. The 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day aimed to educate people on the subject and inform them on the threats that the top ten endangered species are facing.
The yearly event is held in several states across the United States, lasts for several days (all throughout a weekend) and started last Friday, on May 15th. Participating zoos restrict access to a few of their endangered animals and birds every year, in order to make visitors feel the non existence of said species.
The Living Desert and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums were the leaders of the event. Cheetahs and the Western Pound Turtles were the main priorities of the Dallas Zoo. They had a scarce presence, and hopefully made people sensitive to the extinction rate in order to avoid another Tasmanian Tiger scenario.
Out of all the animals that the Dallas Zoo hosts, more than 32 percent of them are endangered species. Besides cheetahs and the Western Pound Turtles, the list includes African Penguins (severely threatened by the change in ocean currents), elephants, gorillas, monarch butterflies and sharks.
The Living Desert and 229 accredited members of the AZA also decided to take their initiative to social media to further develop their program and raise awareness about the state of our wildlife and the tragedies we risk facing if biological diversity degradation keeps progressing. Interested parties could expect to see hourly online updates if they followed The Living Desert’s page or the hashtag #savingspecies.
Ohio’s Akron Zoo also participated in the event in an attempt to raise awareness and defend the animals facing extinction. They focused mostly on the Sumatran Tiger, only allowing for severely restricted, occasional glimpses.
David Barnhardt , Ohio’s Akron Zoo’s marketing director, took advantage of the event to announce Akron Zoo’s own plans of launching their own program SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) that they intend to use to raise awareness for saving endangered animals and educate people on what actions to take to reach the goal.
He gave a statement saying “Through SAFE we will pull all of these resources we have available to us and develop action plans, raise awareness and engage the public to help these endangered species”.
Dallas Zoo initiated Wild Earth Academy, a similar program, in February 2015, with Ben Jones, its senior director, saying that there’s a balance in nature and it’s very evident that that balance is becoming imbalanced, that it’s shifting. He believes that people have to do their part to use the resources that they have, but not use them up.
The current situation is a grim one. Statistically speaking, one in eight birds, one in four mammals and a third of all amphibians are facing extinction right now.
The population of vertebrate species has declined by more than half in the last 40 years, more than half of the 633 known species of primates are in danger of disappearing, lemurs are barely holding on, the African Lion only has about 400 specimens left on the planet, and the wild giraffe population has dropped by 40 percent in the past 15 years.
Image Source: topwalls.net