On May 15, the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day has been kicked off across the United States, which sees a series of wildlife awareness events with the participation of over 200 zoos. These zoos across the country restricted access to a few of their endangered animals and birds to make visitors feel the non existence of such species.
Ohio’s Akron Zoo also participated in the awareness event, where it shrouded Sumatran tigers from visitors, with only limited access to visitors to capture a glimpse of the endangered tiger species. In Dallas Zoo, authorities kept the African penguins were kept away from visitors’ sight, while allowing those visitors who commit to eat sustainable seafood, switching off lights when not in use and such kind of conservation efforts.
Ohio’s Akron Zoo’s director of marketing and guest services David Barnhardt revealed that the zoo will be using this event to launch their own program SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) where the zoo will create awareness of saving endangered animals. SAFE is sponsored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He also said,
“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.”
Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for every humans to learn about the importance of animals, especially endangered species, and day to day actions they can take to protect these species, according to the Endangered Species Coalition. The Endangered Coalition not only sponsors events in the states, but also provides toolkits for zoos which interested in its own endangered species awareness programs such as SAFE.
Dallas Zoo has initiated a program in February 2015, named as the Wild Earth Academy, which educates people about endangered species. Ben Jones, Wild Earth Academy’s Senior Director and Dean, said in a statement:
“There’s a balance in nature and it’s very evident that that balance is becoming imbalanced, it’s shifting. We have to do our part to use the resources that we have, but not use them up.”
The Coalition also produces the yearly report “Vanishing: Ten American Species Our Children May Never See” – listing the top 10 most endangered species during the time of reporting. 2014’s ‘Vanishing’ report listed endangered animals like the Monarch butterfly, Mountain yellow-legged frog (extinct from southern Sierra Nevada), North Pacific right whale, great white shark (California/Mexico), little brown bat (extinct due to white-nose syndrome, an illness caused by a deadly fungus from Europe), whitebark pine, rusty patched bumblebee, greater sage-grouse, polar bear and snake river sockeye salmon.