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Let's End Extinction

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Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:32 am, Mon May 5, 2014.

(Family Features) Can you imagine a world without wildlife? From the largest trees to the smallest insects, nature is critical to man's survival.

Without forests there would be no air to breath; without insects there would be no fruits and vegetables to eat. The earth is a delicate ecosystem, and it's up to mankind to make choices for sustaining and improving the environment. One choice is to partner with a trusted and reputable leader in conservation.

Leading the fight against extinction

One such organization is San Diego Zoo Global, which is dedicated to saving endangered species worldwide. This non-profit operates three world-class facilities - the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Their conservation work takes place locally at these three campuses and reaches beyond to field projects in 35 countries. The organization's vision is to lead the fight against extinction. Though it is quite an audacious goal, they've proven they can do it, with the help of people who care about this important cause.

Survival stories

To date, San Diego Zoo Global has bred over 165 endangered species, and reintroduced 33 species back into the wild including mountain yellow-legged frogs, five species of reptiles, 17 species of birds, and 10 species of mammals. In many cases, these efforts have meant the difference between extinction and survival.

The group has also made major contributions to saving the California condor from extinction, leading a multi-organization effort and helping to increase the population from only 22 birds in the '80s to well over 300 today, and releasing the first birds back to the wild in Baja California, Mexico, part of the condor's original habitat range.

The organization has also been instrumental in helping to increase the number of giant pandas at China's Wolong Breeding Center from 25 bears to more than 100 by developing new techniques in husbandry, and specifically breeding, then working hands-on to share that knowledge at Wolong and elsewhere.

The research continues

Scientists working in their labs analyze over 3,000 samples each year and have discovered more than a dozen previously unidentified protozoa, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The group's Wildlife Diseases Laboratories are taking an active role in saving amphibians by screening for chytrid fungus to keep frog populations healthy.

These examples are only a fraction of the stories about how San Diego Zoo Global is committed to generating, sharing, and applying scientific knowledge vital to the conservation of animals, plants, and habitats worldwide.

Ending extinction, together

The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy was established to create a connection between the public and the experts of San Diego Zoo Global. The Wildlife Conservancy provides a variety of content about the state of endangered species, what is being done for them, and ways someone can help. By joining the Wildlife Conservancy and becoming a Wildlife Hero, people will be directly contributing to ending extinction.

Through their conservation work and collaboration with others, the organization hopes to create a future in which people and wildlife can thrive together. To lean more about how you can help worldwide conservation efforts, visit www.endextinction.org.

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