Why Zoos Matter
Biodiversity is important. Healthy diversity of species (plants, animals, etc.) is key to our way of life, as it provides humans with many provisional, regulating and cultural benefits. Provisionally, humans gain food, water, shelter and medicine as a result of diversity. Biodiversity of species allow for regulation of climate, soil viability and flood protection. Lastly, it provides for recreational opportunities, scientific research and aesthetic enjoyment for humans. Zoos are key players in preserving biodiversity.
Over the course of hundreds of years, zoos have gone through many iterations. The first zoo was simply a collection or menagerie of animals for human viewing pleasure, back in Egypt in 1500 BC. Accredited zoos today have evolved to be robust conservation, research and education organizations. This focus is evident in our mission to “save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education and engaging experiences. We connect people to animals and inspire conservation action.” As a roadmap to achieving our mission, Zoo Atlanta has defined seven areas that represent our work. These seven areas allow us to address the complicated issues associated with saving species and ensuring biodiversity in a dynamic way. We call them “What We Do.”
We create connections to wild species and wild places for visitors to the Zoo. Creating a meaningful, engaging guest experience that is relatable to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures is a key component of our work. We participate in collaborative reintroduction programs that enhance wild populations, ensuring species diversity and sustainability. We educate the public about wildlife, wild places and engage them in saving species through our education programming. We offset threats to wild populations using innovative problem solving and community-based solutions. We fund effective conservation locally and globally that yields positive outcomes for wildlife. We maintain assurance populations, in collaboration with zoos worldwide, in case wild populations face environmental disasters and/or extinction. And finally, we engage in and support scientifically based research both at the Zoo and in the field. Our research focuses on a diverse group of sciences from biological and ecological studies of the rainforest of Brazil to social science research looking at how best to engage youth in developing conservation-based behaviors.
Zoos have come a long way from the days as a mere collection of animals. They have grown into dynamic organizations with rich missions, striving to preserve the biodiversity of our planet. To learn more about Zoo Atlanta, our mission and as how you can join us in saving species, visit us at the Zoo or go online.