Conservation is a very important part of the Caldwell Zoo’s mission. As part of that mission, the zoo is home to more than 50 endangered and threatened animal species. Many of our favorite exotic animals fall into the endangered or threatened categories*—everything from African elephants, black rhinos, cheetahs, cotton-top tamarins, African penguins, crowned cranes and even the little black-spotted newt are endangered species.
At first glance, these animals may not seem to have much in common, but most species that become endangered or threatened share some common traits:
- Habitat destruction within the species native ecosystem
- Pressure from hunters including bushmeat
- Large size
- Considered a threat to humans living in the same area
- Body parts considered valuable (fur, ivory tusks, traditional folk medicine beliefs, etc.)
- Restricted distribution with entire species living in one small area of the world
- Migration across international borders or living in international waters where governmental protection is difficult to achieve
- Inability to adapt to life and breed in areas populated by humans
- Long gestation and/or low birth rate
- Removal of animals from wild to become pets
- Domination by an introduced species or disease
Many factors threaten animals in our modern world and once an animal is extinct, it is gone forever. At Caldwell Zoo, we take our conservation mission very seriously; know the importance of protecting endangered species and through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plans (SSPs)** help them breed, encouraging the survival of the species.
Remember: As a ZooMember, you help the Caldwell Zoo achieve its very important conservation mission.
*IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Critically Endangered – a species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild Endangered – a species considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild Vulnerable – a species considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. www.iucnredlist.org
**SPECIES SURVIVAL PLAN: A cooperative breeding program among AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) accredited institutions created for the purpose of ensuring the survival of species in need of conservation efforts.