It's been about a year since our wild partnership, The Alliance for Sustainable WIldlife, began in Louisiana. A modern-day ark, the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center is a sanctuary for various species, especially those that are endangered or threatened. The protected area is not open to visitors, and is home to reticulated giraffe, sable, bongo, okapi, common eland, and yellow-backed duiker and others that have safe space with room to roam as they would in the wild. And—hopefully—to breed.
The endeavor is proving to be a success, with a veritable baby boom during this first year. Births of several giraffes and antelope have added to the global population of these species, some of which are endangered or threatened. Since arriving at the center, 7 antelope have been conceived and born. One giraffe is pregnant, having conceived a calf since her arrival, and three giraffes that arrived pregnant have given birth to healthy calves.
The antelope born include 2 eland, 2 Eastern bongos, 2 sable antelope, and 1 yellow-backed duiker. The Eastern bongo is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. Giraffe subspecies are all listed as Threatened, but reticulated giraffe populations have plummeted by 80%. Every baby is a victory!
The one-of-a-kind partnership is a unique opportunity to add to global populations of animals that are in danger of disappearing. Both Audubon Nature Institute and San Diego Zoo Global bring a wealth of animal care experience to this endeavor. This collaborative effort, comes in part, from the ongoing efforts of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to create and manage species through the collaborative efforts of accredited zoos.