Endangered Species Day

May 20 is Endangered Species Day! AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums fund over 2650 conservation projects in over 130 countries and spend upwards of $160 million dollars annually on conservation initiatives and education to give animals the helping hand they desperately need.

Endangered Species Day exists to help educate the community about the various species that are facing extinction, as well as the factors that cause species to die out.

Several species of animals at the Virginia Zoo are on the verge of extinction and are considered endangered or critically endangered:

  • Bongo
  • Bornean Orangutan
  • Malayan Tapir
  • Malayan Tiger
  • Radiated tortoise
  • Red panda
  • Siamang
  • White-cheeked gibbons

A majority of the other species of animals at the Zoo are listed as vulnerable to or near threatened with extinction, but their lower conservation status is not to be overlooked as these animals are still at risk for extinction.

The most common factors that lead species to go extinct include:

  • habitat loss including degradation and fragmentation
  • poaching and hunting, including human-animal conflicts
  • illegal pet trade
  • introduction of invasive species

Several programs exist to help combat extinction:

  • AZA SAFE program (Association of Zoos and Aquariums: Save Animals From Extinction)
  • Farmer education programs, which prevent human-animal conflict
  • Livestock Guarding dogs – also prevent human-animal conflict
  • thousands of conservation programs for various species

The Zoo will host an event May 13 from 11am to 2pm and will take place at the Animal Wellness Campus. There will be discovery carts, crafts, keeper chats, buttons and more.