Written By: Zoe Glover
National Wildlife Day is a day that is celebrated biannually on February 22 and September 4 to bring awareness to institutions that allow for the conservation of endangered species, and those species that are endangered. Started in 2005 by animal behaviorist and philanthropist Colleen Paige, the goal of celebrating National Wildlife Day twice per year brings double the awareness to the importance of the conservation of endangered species and support to institutions that contribute to this idea. This day is different than World Wildlife Day, previously celebrated on March 3 of this year, in that World Wildlife Day is the anniversary of the signing of the convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of wild fauna and flora, a document maintaining the survival of species that are internationally traded [1,2].
With National Wildlife Day, we will highlight three species at the zoo that are endangered and what we do to protect them.
Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)
Black-Handed Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi geoffroyi)
Black-Handed Spider Monkeys are an endangered species native to forests in Mexico and Central America. This arboreal primate species uses their hooked hands, which lack thumbs, and their prehensile tails to navigate the rainforests, however, with the loss of trees for agriculture and living spaces for humans, this is unfortunately causing a population decline. While not a part of the SSP, we recently welcomed a fifth member to our troop at the end of August, a significant step in bolstering the Black-Handed Spider Monkey population .
Red Wolf (Canis rufus)
What can you do?