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Did you know that the Western Pond Turtle is not only an endangered species; it’s also the only turtle native to California? These little ambassadors are one of 10 inaugural species that are the focus of the national SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction campaign organized by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The campaign launches today, Endangered Species day.
The Sacramento Zoo is helping bring attention to the plight of these animals and many other endangered species this weekend through a variety of activities. You can go to Keeper Chats, Animal Encounters or Wildlife Stage Shows to learn more about endangered species. If you’re feeling photogenic, take a “shellfie” at our turtle photo-op. You may also notice caution tape and signs at some of the Zoo’s exhibits, highlighting some of the other endangered species at the Zoo. Visit the Member & Visitor Services Office to get a special t-shirt designed by FishFlop creator Madison Nicole for a $20 minimum suggested donation. All money raised through the sale of the shirts will go to the Sacramento Zoo’s Conservation Fund that supports more than three-dozen conservation programs around the world.
For decades, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival, and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the American Bison, the California Condor and a variety of aquatic species.
Through SAFE, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will convene scientists and stakeholders globally to identify the factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.
In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species and then add an additional 10 species each year for the next 10 years. The inaugural 10 species include: African Penguin, Asian Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, Cheetah, Gorilla, Sea Turtles, Vaquita, sharks and rays as a group, Western Pond Turtle, and Whooping Crane.
Take Action! One of the easiest conservation actions you can take is to visit the Sacramento Zoo! Doing so directly supports the collaborative efforts of hundreds of researchers, field conservationists and scientists from AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums working to save animals from extinction.
For more information, visit saczoo.org/SAFE and follow the online conversation via #savingspecies.