Endangered Species in the Spotlight at the L.A. Zoo

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

May 15, 2015

Billy the Asian Elephant by Tad Motoyama

Billy the Asian Elephant by Tad Motoyama

AZA-Accredited Zoos Band Together in a National Effort to Highlight the Growing Extinction Crisis

Los Angeles, CA – May 15, 2015 – Today is the 10th Anniversary of Endangered Species Day, and to highlight the growing importance of working on saving endangered species from extinction, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens will host special presentations on animals that may soon vanish from the earth if efforts to save them aren’t sustained.

“Today, we are raising awareness of endangered species in order to motivate and inspire our visitors to join us and other accredited zoos and aquariums in efforts to save animals from extinction,” said John Lewis, Zoo Director at the Los Angeles Zoo. “L.A. Zoo has been involved firsthand in crucial conservation projects to bring California condors back from the brink of extinction, and it’s these programs led by zoos and aquariums and the community at large that can make a difference.”

On this day, as well as Saturday, May 16, the L.A. Zoo will focus on four unique species that it is actively fighting to keep from going extinct in the wild: southern mountain yellow-legged frog, peninsular pronghorn, California condor, and western lowland gorilla. Kids and parents alike are invited to take a deeper look at these special animals and the challenging issues they face in the wild through a plethora of interactive activities. Guests can also take away information on how they can roll up their sleeves and help the threatened animals in their own neighborhood.

This special programming is part of a larger national effort organized by the Association of Zoos

& Aquariums (AZA), of which the Los Angeles Zoo is a member. Specifically, the 229- accredited members of the AZA are coming together in a variety of ways to raise awareness of the efforts to save animals from extinction and to help launch AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE).

For decades, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival, and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the peninsular pronghorn, California condor and a variety of aquatic species.

Through SAFE, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will convene scientists and stakeholders globally to identify the factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.

In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species and then add an additional 10 species each year for the next 10 years. The inaugural 10 species are: African penguin, Asian elephant, black rhinoceros, cheetah, gorilla, sea turtle, sharks and rays, vaquita, Western pond turtle, and whooping crane.

“AZA aquarium and zoo conservationists have identified more than 100 species facing the greatest threats and where accredited zoos and aquariums have unique conservation and science knowledge to contribute,” Jim Maddy, AZA President and CEO, said. “Today, we’re demonstrating just how profound the loss would be if we don’t take action now to protect wildlife. More importantly, we are also explaining to the public just what AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are doing to save animals from extinction.”

Public Asked to Help Save Animals from Extinction

One of the easiest conservation actions the public can take is to visit the Los Angeles Zoo. Doing

so directly supports the collaborative efforts of hundreds of researchers, field conservationists, and scientists from AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums working to save animals from extinction. For more information, visit the Los Angeles Zoo and follow the online conversation on May 15 via #savingspecies.

Photo credits: Jamie Pham and Tad Motoyama

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About the Los Angeles Zoo

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $19 for adults and $14 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.

About AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction

AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo & aquarium visitors

with the resources and collective expertise of zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit AZAsavingspecies.org.