OKC ZOO SUPPORTS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT CENTER IN ECUADOR - 2012
MEDIA ADVISORY October 5, 2012
CONTACTS: Tara Henson: (405) 425-0219 office, (405) 919-9038 cell, [email protected]
Candice Rennels: (405) 425-0298 office, (405) 412-6172 cell, [email protected]
OKC ZOO SUPPORTS JATUN SACHA FOUNDATION TO BUILD CENTER FOR WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT IN ECUADOR
The Oklahoma City Zoo is proud to announce a new conservation initiative partnership with the Jatun Sacha (pronounced Jah-tomb Sah-chuh) Foundation in Ecuador, South America. A $20,000 donation has been awarded to assist in the building of a wildlife management center. Guests from Ecuador representing the program will be at the Zoo Tuesday, October 9 to meet Zoo staff and share with the public about their efforts in conservation. The Zoo aids in numerous local, national and international conservation projects annually.
Tuesday, October 9
Dr. Ivan Villarreal, CEO Jatun Sacha Foundation
Geovanna Coello Fernandez, Program Volunteer Coordinator
Translators provided by Santa Fe South High School.
9:00 to 11am: Zoo tours
1:15 to 2pm: Presentation to Zoo staff in Education Auditorium
7pm to 8:30pm: FREE Public Lecture in the Education Auditorium (located at the east end of the Zoo’s parking lot)
CONSERVATION PROGRAM OBJECTIVES AND BACKGROUND:
The main objective is to establish the Center for Wildlife Management at Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve, which will be a refuge for endangered species bred illegally for hunting. The center will provide a safe home for the native animals and serve as a research center to study the natural behavior of these species.
- Develop a center for wildlife management focusing on wildlife management and animal breeding.
- Enable an animal rescue center that serves as a refuge for illegally bred animals and their subsequent reintegration into the wild.
- Create a space suitable for breeding of those species that have become endangered due to hunting, thus contributing to the reproduction and repopulation of these species.
- Establish a program to assist sick and injured endangered animals, while raising awareness and providing education on this issue.
- Develop research projects regarding the biology of these species with a focus on maintaining biological viability.
ISSUES & THREATS TO ECUADOR’S WILDLIFE:
Illegal wildlife trafficking is one of the most serious threats to
biodiversity and impacts the entire ecosystem. Such traffickers capture
and collect live specimens, animal parts, or animal products. These
animals and products are destined for pet stores or as expensive furs and
exotic dishes in restaurants worldwide. Domestic trafficking targets a much
wider array of species, as the domestic black market exists for almost any wild
animal that can be illegally sold as pets, for sport, in collections of all
kinds and in fueling demand for skins and animal protein in different markets
across the country. Expansive domestic black market trafficking is more
damaging to the environment than foreign trafficking, as domestic traffickers
destroy almost all plant and animal populations that are within an affected
In Ecuador, there are no comprehensive studies pertaining to the volume and nature of illegal animal trafficking and related illegal possession. This information vacuum complicates attempts to address the problem, as those who want to prevent illegal trafficking do not have accurate information to assist them in focusing their efforts. In this context, Jatun Sacha Foundation is committed to establishing the Center for Wildlife Management at Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve to help achieve this new initiative and bring biodiversity conservation to Ecuador.