ROYAL OAK — As part of its continued efforts to conserve the most vulnerable wildlife species around the world, the Detroit Zoological Society is collaborating with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to help launch a new initiative to save animals from extinction.
More than 100 species have been identified through the initiative, called Saving Animals From Extinction or SAFE, as facing the greatest threats in the wild. The 229 accredited zoos and aquariums that comprise the association have the specialized conservation and science knowledge to contribute to the preservation of these animals. Many critically endangered species at the Detroit Zoo include turtles, tigers, gorillas, rhinos, zebras, polar bears, vultures, and toads.
“It’s important for us to focus our resources on those species that need the most help,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO. “Everyone can do their part by living sustainably and supporting conservation programs such as SAFE.”
For the first year of the SAFE initiative, the focus will be on 10 of these species, with the intent of adding more every year for the next 10 years. These include African penguins, Asian elephants, black rhinoceroses, cheetahs, gorillas, sea turtles, vaquitas (a species of small dolphin), sharks and rays, western pond turtles, and whooping cranes.
The association-accredited zoos and aquariums are already working to restore more than 30 species to a healthy, wild population, including the American bison, Przewalski’s horse, Puerto Rican crested toad, Wyoming toad, and Chinese alligator — all of which can be found at the Detroit Zoo.
For more information, visit aza.org, and follow the SAFE conversation on social media using the hashtag #savingspecies.