Roaring Forward into the Future
The roar has been an important part of San Diego Zoo Global’s history ever since Dr. Harry Wegeforth heard the roar of a lion that needed a home and was inspired to create the San Diego Zoo. Through determination and community support, what was seen as Dr. Harry’s folly became a source of pride for San Diego, and through the years, it has transformed into a world-renowned conservation organization that is committed to leading the fight against extinction.
The organization has gone from a small group of cages along Park Boulevard in 1916 to three leading facilities in 2016: the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. In the late 1920s, Belle Benchley worked with 30 employees; now there are nearly 3,000. Where Dr. Harry felt fortunate to be able to take care of a few individual animals without a home in the 1930s, San Diego Zoo Global now has more than 140 field projects in 80 countries worldwide to try to protect and save species. Where Dr. Harry dedicated the San Diego Zoo to the children of San Diego, we now dedicate San Diego Zoo Global to the children of the world. What began with one man and one lion has become the combined voices and dedication of millions on behalf of species everywhere. Dr. Harry would be amazed—but then again, perhaps not. He might just nod in approval, having expected no less. And he would probably have several ideas about what to do next.
San Diego Zoo Global is now roaring forward into our next 100 years. We are dedicated to saving species from extinction, igniting a passion for wildlife among children and adults, and providing a sanctuary and refuge for animals and for people. The challenges facing wildlife are unprecedented; but with the help and support of volunteers, members, partners, and the worldwide community, San Diego Zoo Global stands ready to create a future where people and wildlife can live and thrive together.