Zoos and aquariums from all over the world have joined together to save endangered species through the 229 groups that are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The project is called SAFE, which stands for Saving Animals from Extinction. SAFE involves 1000s of scientists and conservationists who are dedicated to assisting in the adventure and fight to save endangered species all over the world.
In order to bring attention to the plan, May 15 has been declared Endangered Species Day. Today, all the participating zoos and aquariums will close off access to all of their displays that include any type of endangered species (those on the Endangered Species List). Instead, visitors will learn how to fight against the growing problem.
Fight to Save Endangered Species Begins Now
SAFE is initiating the campaign with a focus on 10 different animals on the endangered species list. Then, each year they will add 10 more creatures to their list to encourage the world to start paying more attention to the cause.
The first of the 10 species to be focused on at the start of this fight includes the African penguin, the Asian elephant, the Black rhino, the cheetah, the gorilla, sharks and rays, sea turtles, the Western pond turtle, the whooping crane and the Vaquita porpoise.
Work to Save Endangered Species Has Already Started
AZA and others have already begun the fight to save endangered species and started doing so more than 100 years ago. Zoos and aquariums affiliated with AZA have in the past, worked to stabilize and grow populations of endangered species such as the California condor, the American bison, and the black-footed ferret.
This new project is hoped to include the efforts of not only the SAFE organization, but also the millions of annual visitors to all of the AZA accredited zoos and aquariums as they learn about all of the endangered species. They are doing this in part from a million dollar grant from two ecologists: Mark and Kimbra Walter, and others who have donated money towards their cause to save endangered species from extinction.