At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., four endangered species will �disappear� from view to simulate what could happen in the near future if action isn't taken to protect these animals for future generations.
When guests visit the exhibits of the African lions, African penguins, Western lowland gorillas or the Zoo's two shark species, they will find the exhibits covered with many sheets of paper to symbolize an �empty� exhibit where an animal has been allowed to go extinct. Guests will be able to take a page from the window and write down what they can do to help save these animals, which were chosen to be highlighted because of the Zoo's direct involvement in conservation projects affecting these species.
Guests will learn about choices they can make in their own daily lives that ultimately effect wildlife and wild places, such as making informed choices about sustainable fishing practices when buying seafood, or how recycling their cell phone battery can help preserve precious habitat for gorillas in Africa.
�No one wants to live in a world where gorillas or penguins were allowed to become extinct,� said Executive Zoo Director Chris Kuhar. �But it can be hard for some people to see the connection between their everyday actions and the future of endangered species, and that's where we come in. We help build those connections through our Conservation Education programs and through participating in efforts like SAFE.�
The Zoo is joining with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, its conservation partners, and others in a nationwide effort to mark the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day and highlight the growing importance of saving endangered species from extinction, as part of SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction.
Through SAFE, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will convene scientists and stakeholders globally to identify the factors threatening species, develop conservation action plans, collect new resources and engage the public. In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species and then add an additional 10 species each year for the next 10 years.
One of the easiest conservation actions the public can take is to visit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which directly supports the collaborative efforts of hundreds of researchers, field conservationists and scientists from AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums working to save animals from extinction.
For more information, follow the online conversation via #savingspecies or visit AZAsavingspecies.org.
Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $13.25 per person, $12.25 for seniors ages 62 and older, $9.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
For more information, visit clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo or call 216-661-6500.