June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month, celebrated annually to honor the role of the world’s zoos and aquariums in conservation, education, recreation and research. These facilities work hard every day to preserve the extraordinary species with whom we share the planet, and many are personally responsible for the survival of species that were on the verge of disappearing forever.
Take the Mexican wolf, for example. The smallest subspecies of gray wolf in North America, their population once numbered upward of 4,000. The wolves roamed a range that extended from central Mexico through southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico and southwestern Texas.
As cattle operations took over the area, however, conflicts with livestock led to a determined effort to eradicate the wolves. By the mid-1900s, Mexican wolves had been all but eliminated from the U.S.; and in 1976, the wolf was placed on the Endangered Species list. Many believed the species would never recover.
Today, there are nearly 200 Mexican wolves in the wild, all because of the efforts of zoos and collaborative breeding programs. This spring, 11 Mexican wolf pups — including three born at Brookfield Zoo, an American Humane Certified™ facility — were transported to New Mexico and Arizona where they were placed in wild dens. The fostering program, now in its seventh year, is used by the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team to increase the genetic diversity of the wild Mexican wolf population. To date, 83 captive-bred pups have been placed into wild wolf dens, and some of Brookfield Zoo’s own pups from earlier years have already had litters of their own in the wild. An amazing success story!
As animals continue to be raised in zoos, aquariums and conservation parks, versus out in the wild, increasing numbers of people are demanding, rightfully so, that their welfare and treatment be ensured and, most importantly, verified. While various broad accreditation programs exist, American Humane’s certification program is the only independent third-party certification effort solely dedicated to the humane treatment of animals.
Backed by the most well respected, iconic names in animal science, animal welfare and animal ethics, American Humane’s Humane Conservation™ program adheres to guidelines that guarantee the welfare and humane treatment of animals at zoos, aquariums, conservation centers and other zoological facilities across the globe. When you see the American Humane Certified™ logo, you can rest assured that the facility meets the highest standards of animal care.
Animals enrich our lives and our planet, and with challenges facing species worldwide, humanity has a moral and ethical obligation to preserve these magnificent animals. The exceptional work that professionals at zoos and aquariums do is helping to save species, provide lifesaving research and education, and inspire millions of visitors each year to protect the animals that they see and interact with.
There are more than 60 American Humane Certified™ parks globally, all playing a vital role in preserving the world’s remarkable creatures. Without this help – and the global engagement of the public – the biological treasures we hoped to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren may vanish within a generation.
This June, support these modern-day zoological facilities by visiting a Humane Certified™ zoo or aquarium near you.