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As a visitor to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, it’s easy to appreciate and be inspired by the beauty of the animals. It’s exciting to watch our Amur tigers, Dasha and Klechka, enjoy the innovative new Rosebrough Tiger Passage. It’s fun to feed the giraffes, with their 18-inch purple tongues!
But visiting the Zoo is also the first step on a larger journey to helping species in the wild. Many of the species you see in Cleveland are in danger in the wild: gorillas, Asian turtles, giraffes, tigers, lions and others. Some of these species could even disappear in our lifetime, or in the next generation.
As a member and supporter of your Zoo, it’s important to make the connection between the animals here at the Zoo — the two Amur tigers, our friendly Masai giraffes — and those living in the wild all over the world. The Zoo is sharing information to make that connection stronger through a new website, FutureforWildlife.org.
“We rely on the Earth’s clean water, clean air, habitats and resources just like other living things,” said Conservation Curator Kym Gopp. “We have a responsibility to the other living things on the planet. We need to take care of our shared home for everyone’s benefit and the benefit of future generations.”
Gopp coordinated development of Future for Wildlife, pulling together a diverse team including Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks and Zoo Society staff, volunteers and members to develop a program that covers the Zoo’s conservation mission.
As one of the first Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions to have a field conservation program, your Zoo is an industry leader in wildlife conservation efforts. Working with conservation partners in the field all over the world, the Zoo is tackling today’s most complex and pressing human-wildlife conservation issues, including habitat loss, illegal trade and conflict with humans. Working with these partners, the Zoo is developing unique and collaborative projects that directly address wildlife survival and benefit local people.
“The longevity and success of this program and its contribution to conservation is acknowledged in professional circles,” said Gopp. “We have been involved in wildlife conservation since 1995 and have been working with many of our conservation partners in the field for many years.”
Be an informed and responsible consumer. Don’t buy products made from protected wildlife. Do shop at fair trade shops, including the fair trade section of the renovated Zoo gift shop. Purchase certified sustainable products like “shade grown” coffee, FSC certified wood and paper products and household products made with sustainable palm oil.
Recycle your cell phone and other consumer electronics and encourage others to do the same. These steps help protect gorilla habitat in Africa from mining.
Advocate for wildlife on FutureForWildlife.org through petitions, pledges and social media. Tell public officials, businesses and others that you care about wildlife and wild places and urge them to take action and do what is needed to protect them.
Most importantly, you can continue to support your Zoo by visiting often and learning how the amazing animals in Cleveland provide a window into wild populations. Keep your membership current or upgrade to our ZooKeepers Circle level to receive behind-the-scenes tour and invitations to exclusive events. Learn more at ClevelandZooSociety.org. Together we can make a difference and secure a future for wildlife.
2: The number of countries where mountain gorillas live in the wild
20: The number of years left until (experts predict) Andean bears will be endangered
40: The percentage that the wild giraffe population has decreased in the past 15 years
95: The percentage of the wild tiger population that has disappeared in the past 100 years
10: The estimated annual worth (in U.S. dollars) of illegal wildlife trade on the black market