Archive: Detroit Zoological Society Keeps Endangered Animals ‘SAFE’

National collaborative effort launched to Save Animals From Extinction

May 15, 2015


As part of its continued efforts to conserve the most vulnerable wildlife species around the world, the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is collaborating with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to help launch AZA’s new initiative, Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE).

To honor the occasion, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day, zookeeper talks will be held throughout the day on May 15 at the Detroit Zoo.  The schedule of talks includes many critically endangered species at the Detroit Zoo, including turtles, tigers, gorillas, rhinos, zebras, polar bears, vultures and toads.

“It’s important for us to focus our resources on those species that need the most help,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO.  “Everyone can do their part by living sustainably and supporting conservation programs such as SAFE.”

More than 100 species have been identified through the SAFE initiative as facing the greatest threats in the wild.  The 229 accredited zoos and aquariums that comprise the AZA have the specialized conservation and science knowledge to contribute to the preservation of these animals.

For the first year of the SAFE initiative, the focus will be on 10 of these species, with the intent of adding more every year for the next 10 years.  These include African penguins, Asian elephants, black rhinoceroses, cheetahs, gorillas, sea turtles, vaquitas (a species of small dolphin), sharks and rays, western pond turtles and whooping cranes.

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are already working to restore more than 30 species to a healthy, wild population, including the American bison, Przewalski’s horse, Puerto Rican crested toad, Wyoming toad and Chinese alligator – all of which can be found at the Detroit Zoo.

For more information, visit, and follow the SAFE conversation on social media using the hashtag #savingspecies.