San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance celebrates its partners in conservation, global collaborations on international World Wildlife Day

SAN DIEGO, March 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On World Wildlife Day, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) is proud to celebrate our nearly 500 partnerships across 17 countries that support the values ​​of this special United Nations’ day recognizing vulnerable plants and animals – and the people working together to save them amid changing landscapes.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Logo (PRNewsfoto/San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance)

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Logo (PRNewsfoto/San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance)

“We collaborate with people, communities, corporations, NGOs, and governments, all of whom share our mission to save species and ecosystems, and our vision for a world where all life thrives,” said SDZWA President and CEO. Paul A. Baribault. “We approach all our efforts and partnerships with the critical understanding that collaboration is fundamental for effective and sustainable conservation action.”

“Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation” is the theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day, which is also a celebration of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora, which was signed 50 years ago today. SDZWA is celebrating two years of adding “Wildlife Alliance” to its title, emphasizing the importance of its conservation partnerships.

“San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance partnerships are a living and growing representation of what CITES stands for, and those involved with its inception hoped to achieve,” Baribault said. “From the savannas of Kenya to the Amazonian forests to classrooms in Hawai’i, our network of global conservation partners makes our collective work possible.”

Here are just some of our thriving partnerships:

Community Partnerships Northern Kenya

SDZWA supports and empowers local people and leaders in community-led conservation. Our partnerships prioritize inclusive participation in conservation activities and decisions, so that we can work to protect biodiversity while elevating and supporting community needs and goals.

Collaborations and Results:

  • Chui Mamas (“Leopard Mothers”) is a community-based women’s organization founded and led by local women. We are partnering with Chui Mamas and Loisaba Conservancy to build the Chui Mamas Center, a headquarters for over 300 women from the surrounding community conservancies. The center will support local enterprise and conservation planning, mirroring the goals of our partnership to enhance capacity and income opportunities linked to wildlife and habitat conservation.

  • SDZWA is supporting Grevy’s Zebra Trust to expand their Healing Rangelands program, which works to revitalize local grazing management and rangeland restoration. Partnering to restore healthy rangelands benefits livestock-based livelihoods, provides better water access for zebras, and advances protection of natural spaces for all who depend on them.

  • Lion Governors is an Ewaso Lions program designed to empower former Samburu warriors who recently became elders to mentor younger men in their communities in the coexistence work they have been leading for years – creating conservation continuity through generational knowledge and skill transfer and engagement in conservation across age sets. SDZWA supports Lion Governors as they respond to lion conflict, monitor lions, and stimulate dialogue around lion conservation, which together promote coexistence with wildlife and the well-being of both people and animals across communities.

  • Our partnership with Kenya Wildlife Service and Northern Rangelands Trust is a collaboration to integrate conservation science, wildlife health and wildlife care into conservation management. Through our shared initiatives, we work to foster human-wildlife coexistence and sustainable wildlife population management. We also participate in mutual exchange of technical expertise and training opportunities, focused on improved health for both wild animals and those being cared for. With projects including addressing giraffe habitat needs with conservancies and understanding elephant behavioral ecology, we advance our shared goal to protect wildlife across their native habitats.

Partnerships with Teachers and Students in Hawai’i

Engaging science teachers and students with scientifically relevant and culturally significant curricular activities to inspire interest in conservation of endemic wildlife.

Collaborations and Results:

  • SDZWA partners with schools on Hawai’i Island for the ‘Alalā Reintroduction Community Inquiry Program, which empowers students to ask and investigate original questions focused on the ‘alalā (Hawaiian crow). The program not only equips teachers with conservation education resources, but it also enhances students’ critical thinking skills and interest in STEM and conservation careers. Furthermore, the program inspires participants to appreciate their unique natural heritage, encouraging teachers, students, and their communities to advocate for its preservation and protection.

  • Our Hawai’i Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science engage formal and informal educators on Hawai’i Island and Maui in a free professional development program. During these workshops, we partner with educators to frame content standards in the context of wildlife conservation, making biodiversity relevant in the classroom and in students’ lives. Since 2018, we have worked with over 50 teachers in Hawai’i; they, in turn, inspire thousands of students to make a difference through conservation.

Partnerships in Academia

SDZWA combines our diverse skills, expertise and resources to collaboratively advance multi-faceted conservation projects that target species facing growing threats at the human-wildlife interface.

Collaborations and Results:

  • You partner with California Mountain Lion Project through the University of California, Davis, to address modern threats to mountain lions. Together, we are navigating noninvasive methods to support human-wildlife coexistence and safely deter mountain lions from livestock, pets and people — thus protecting both human and animal lives. Our San Diego Zoo Safari Park Biodiversity Reserve provides 900 acres on which we can better understand mountain lions; we leverage our expertise in wildlife movement, tracking, and behavior to measure the needs of wild cats and their adaptability to shared ecosystems.

Government Partnerships Peru

SDZWA assists National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP) in safeguarding and managing protected areas and threatened species through collaborative research projects, capacity building, and the development of monitoring and action plans.

Collaborations and Results:

  • SDZWA contributed to the development of the official jaguar monitoring protocol to be used by SERNANP, the Peruvian national parks service, at Tambopata National Reserve. Together with SERNANP, we have also launched a human-jaguar coexistence survey to study the interactions between jaguars and thousands of people in rural Amazonian villages. This survey is the largest-ever of its kind and will provide us with crucial information for developing strategies to reduce conflicts with jaguars, benefitting jaguar conservation, communities and surrounding wildlife.

  • Working with SERNANP, we applied our expertise in conservation science to develop the official monitoring plans for mountain tapir and Andean bear at Peru’s Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary. Our partnership will implement the first wildlife surveys in the area in 2023.

International Partnerships

SDZWA contributes to broad-scale, worldwide efforts to exchange learnings, advance knowledge and galvanize conservation action. The breadth of these partnerships allows us to engage people across sectors and communities.

Collaborations and Results:

  • SDZWA team members collaborate with hundreds of scientists and wildlife professionals around the world through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission. Our team serves on multiple Specialist Groups, ranging in taxa (eg, orchid, crocodile, bear) and theme (eg, animal biobanking, conservation planning). These partnerships magnify our collective impact by enabling information exchange and synergizing our activities and approaches.

  • Our partnership with Reverse the Red ignites cooperation to halt biodiversity decline. As an executive committee member, SDZWA is helping guide collaborators to achieve conservation goals; we gather and share tools to drive conservation optimism and efforts worldwide. We also adopt Reverse the Red messaging throughout SDZWA communications, engaging our audiences in the power of collaboration and encouraging them to be partners for conservation.

About the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit international conservation leader, committed to inspiring a passion for nature and creating a world where all life thrives. The Alliance empowers people from around the globe to support their mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance supports cutting-edge conservation and brings the stories of their work back to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park—giving millions of guests, in person and virtually, the opportunity to experience conservation in action. The work of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance extends from San Diego to strategic and regional conservation “hubs” across the globe, where their strengths—via their “Conservation Toolbox,” including the renowned Wildlife Biodiversity Bank—are able to effectively align with hundreds of regional partners to improve outcomes for wildlife in more coordinated efforts. By leveraging these tools in wildlife care and conservation science, and through collaboration with hundreds of partners, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has reintroduced more than 44 endangered species to native habitats. Each year, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work reaches over 1 billion people in 150 countries via news media, social media, their websites, educational resources and the Wildlife Explorers Kids channel, which is in children’s hospitals in 13 countries. Success is made possible by the support of members, donors and guests to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, who are Wildlife Allies committed to ensuring all life thrives.


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