Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Joins the Effort to Save World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal

Vaquita Porpoise in Imminent Danger of Extinction BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – March 27, 2017 – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has pledged a donation of $2,000 to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) effort to save a small species of porpoise whose numbers have been decimated by gillnetting. The combined contribution of zoos across the nation has raised more than $600,000 to save this imperiled animal. The vaquita porpoise, whose name means “Little Cow,” is the most endangered of the world’s 128 marine mammal species. Gillnetting uses walls of netting to target a particular fish, in this case the totoaba, but vaquitas often get tangled in the nets and drown. Despite the heroic efforts of the Mexican government to protect vaquitas in the northernmost part of the Gulf of California, emergency action is needed to temporarily remove some of the remaining animals and create a safe haven for them. In 1997, there were an estimated 567 vaquitas remaining, according to an AZA study. A more recent study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found fewer than 60 vaquitas left. Today, it is believed that fewer than 30 vaquitas remain. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo appropriates 25 cents from each paid admission to the Zoo to earmark for endangered species protection. The Zoo’s support for the vaquitas will help to establish a safe haven in the northern Gulf of California. The porpoises will be housed and cared for by veterinarians and animal specialists from the U.S. and Mexico. “Part of our mission as an AZA-accredited zoo is to focus on species protection,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “By taking a leadership role in...

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo and Mexican Gray Wolves Join the National #LoboWeek Movement

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – March 20, 2016 – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo joins #LoboWeek from March 26 to April 1, an annual effort to educate people about the importance of wolves on the landscape of the Southwest, and the efforts to successfully return them to their ancestral home in the wild. #LoboWeek this March marks 19 years since 11 captive-reared Mexican gray wolves were released into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, returning the Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo” to the wild was a significant milestone for the lobo and wildlife conservation efforts. More than a million wolves were killed in the U.S. between 1850 and 1900. In 1907, a call was made for the extinction of the entire species. Throughout the wolf’s history, they have been hunted and reviled due to fear and misunderstanding. The Zoo is home to two Mexican gray wolves, and two Red wolves, all extremely rare and on the Endangered Species list. Learning opportunities and activities for guests will be held all week. “Both species of wolves at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo are imperiled. It is only through managed breeding and reintroduction that they survive in the wild today,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “Our wolf exhibits offer our guests an incredible opportunity to see these beautiful and fascinating animals up close.” The two Mexican gray wolves at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo are sisters, born in 2007 at the California Wolf Center in Julian, Calif. Together with the Zoo’s two Red wolves, one male named Harper,...