San Diego holds the last hope to save some endangered animals

Rhinos roam the grounds of The San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido

SAN DIEGO — San Diegans know The San Diego Zoo. Back in the day, “our zoo” got national attention on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” Remember watching Joan Embery introduce Johnny to all those wild and exotic animals? You may not, but those “Tonight Show” appearances helped turn The San Diego Zoo into the “world famous” San Diego Zoo.

Tourists, animal lovers and the just plain curious flock to the world famous San Diego Zoo every day and have for more than 100 years. According to zoo records, 5 million people visit its menagerie in Balboa Park and sister property The San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido annually.

Last summer the San Diego Zoo opened “Africa Rocks.” The exhibit spans eight acres and replaced “Dog and Cat Canyon.” Costing $68 million, “Africa Rocks” is the zoo’s largest construction project ever. FOX 5’s reporting partners at The San Diego Union Tribune wrote about how “Africa Rocks” represented the zoo’s shift of focus to conservancy. Enter San Diego Zoo Global. While you may know The San Diego Zoo, you may not know San Diego Zoo Global.

At its core, the mission of San Diego Zoo Global is “to save species worldwide.” San Diego Zoo Global is the nonprofit organization operating the San Diego Zoo, the Safari Park and others you may not have heard of until now. There’s ZooNooz, produced in San Diego and available to patients at more than a hundred children’s hospitals around the globe. There’s the internationally renowned Institute for Conservation Research. And how about the Rhino Rescue Center?

The Rhino Rescue Center at Safari Park is home to six rescued rhinos. The sanctuary also houses a cutting-edge surrogacy program. “It’s the only program of its kind in the world, and it’s the last hope for the northern white rhino,” according to conservation leaders. San Diego Zoo Global has been working to save rhinos for 40 years. Statistics prove its success. San Diego Zoo Global has been working for more than 40 years, along with other accredited zoos, to keep a sustainable population of rhinos safe under human care while working to protect them in sanctuaries in the wild. “We have had 97 southern white rhinos born, 73 greater one-horned rhinos born and 15 black rhinos born at the Safari Park.” Right now, there are two pregnant southern white rhinos at the center.  Both were artificially inseminated. Their offspring are due next year.

San Diego Global relies on donations for much of its funding. If you’d like to learn more about conservation of wild animals and maybe help, click here.