Before what conservation experts called a “crucial summit” on biodiversity this spring, a new document revealed Chester Zoo’s plans to step up its global role in preventing extinction.
World conservation leaders will meet in China for the COP15 summit in April to discuss the crisis of nature on the planet and establish a plan to address it, as one million species are currently threatened with extinction.
The charity zoo, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, plays a crucial role in preventing extinction through its work to save species with highly endangered animals and plants.
Currently, the zoo is fighting to protect wildlife at the request of the governments of Spain, Portugal and Bermuda and is actively working with over 100 partners in 20 different countries.
The zoo recently received commendation from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the global authority on the status of the natural world – for the difference it makes.
Last week, the zoo made headlines for its work to save a tiny Mexican fish – splitfin tequila – from extinction.
He has also had similar recent successes when he led a mission to return to Rwanda of a group of critically endangered eastern black rhinos reared in zoos in Europe; reintroduced thousands of tiny snails, once believed to be completely extinct, to Bermuda, and developed an initiative to make the city of Chester the world’s first sustainable palm oil city, as part of a campaign to protect forests and orangutans in Borneo.
Jamie Christon, CEO of Chester Zoo, said: “Our zoo has a real impact on conservation. As a leading wildlife charity, we are making a colossal contribution to tackling the global extinction crisis at a time when it is most needed.
“The wonderful thing about our charity is our revolutionary conservation model. When people visit the zoo, they not only connect and learn about wildlife and nature, but they help us generate the vital funds needed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing conservation challenges.
“We are fighting extinction through our conservation, education and research work here at the zoo, across the UK and around the world.
“This work is only possible because of the success of our pioneering conservation model and we have spent £ 180million to support it over the past decade. Without the zoo, it is highly likely that a number of species with which we share our planet would have become extinct.
In addition to generating revenue to be spent on its conservation efforts, the zoo continues to grow as a world-renowned scientific research center, a conservation academy training over 400 environmentalists a year, a place to engage its two million annual visitors with conservation and an extinction prevention center.
The zoo works with more than 3,000 species worldwide, including 140 science-led international conservation breeding programs that strive to ensure populations of genetically viable safety net species in major zoos of the world. It also works with NGOs around the world to transfer the knowledge and skills acquired at its Chester site.
Dr Simon Dowell, director of conservation science at the zoo, added: “We hear a lot about how climate change and habitat loss could push more than a million species to extinction in Africa. during our life.
“It’s pretty scary and at times can lead to a feeling of hopelessness.
“What is important is that we have solutions to the biodiversity crisis and that there are conservation organizations, like ours, that are doing all they can to stop and reverse the decline.
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