San Diego Zoo Global to Conserve Wildlife Habitat through Partnership
January 25, 2012--San Diego Zoo Global and Nature and Culture International are joining forces to conserve millions of acres of tropical forest and wildlife habitat. The two organizations are collaborating on four initial projects in Mexico and South America that will improve the future for animal species and local people by protecting the healthy ecosystems on which both depend.
“By combining the expertise and efforts of our two organizations, we begin a pioneering conservation partnership that addresses the needs of both humans and wildlife,” said Rick Gulley, president, San Diego Zoo Global. “Our initial projects in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia will pair the Zoo’s expertise in species conservation with the successful habitat preservation models developed by Nature and Culture International in partnership with local people.
In 2011, the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy announced expansion of its international conservation program by assuming operation of the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manu National Park, Peru. San Diego Zoo Global’s partnership with Nature and Culture International links the Zoo with an organization that has been working with governments and people in developing countries to conserve key habitats for 15 years. Those efforts have led to the preservation of 7.7 million acres of rainforest and prime wildlife habitat in Latin America. Though its Wildlife Conservancy, the Zoo will contribute its expertise in species management and recovery as part of the combined effort.
“This partnership is a natural extension of the great work that San Diego Zoo Global has done to bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction,” noted Ivan Gayler, founder of Nature and Culture International and the 2010 recipient of the Zoo’s Conservation Medal. “The Wildlife Conservancy’s contribution to understanding the flora and fauna of threatened tropical ecosystems and applying that knowledge to the sustainable use of forest resources by local people will certainly enhance the productivity of our mutual work protecting landscape-scale habitats for the generations to come.”
Established in 1997 and based in San Diego, Nature and Culture International is most active in the four Latin American countries where the initial partnership projects will be implemented - Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia. Responding to the desires of communities in those countries, the organization provides the technical, educational, financial, and legal assistance that enables governmental entities to formally create—and local people to actively protect—large, threatened ecosystems characterized by exceptional species diversity and endemism (species not found elsewhere).
“Nature and Culture International has done a tremendous job of preserving important habitat areas,” said Allison Alberts, Ph.D., chief conservation and research officer for San Diego Zoo Global. “Together we will learn even more about the species living in these areas and understand better how to ensure their conservation in the wild.”