- Created on Thursday, 25 October 2012 21:41
- Written by IVN
Escondido, California - The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is roaring with excitement as one final donation for the construction of a new 5-acre Sumatran tiger habitat helped the nonprofit organization reach a fund-raising goal set by a matching contribution. A donor originally pledged $9 million toward Tiger Trail if the Safari Park could raise an additional $2 million by the end of the year.
Tiger Trail is the Park's largest project fully funded by philanthropy. It is the second largest for San Diego Zoo Global, behind The Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey, which opened at the San Diego Zoo in 2009.
"We are tremendously grateful to everyone who has contributed to Tiger Trail, from the tiger keeper who put a $20 bill in my hand when we announced the match donation to the donor who made the $9 million pledge," said Mark Stuart, San Diego Zoo Global chief development officer. "Despite the great recession, individuals who love tigers and who want to ensure that these big cats are around for many years to come, supported this project to the best of their abilities."
The $9 million pledge, the Park's largest single donation, was announced May 18. The final contribution that reached the $2 million challenge was received on Oct. 19. Thanks to more than 5,000 donors, the Safari Park raised $19.6 million for Tiger Trail, a forested habitat that will offer up-close views of these fascinating felines and highlight conservation efforts for the species.
The habitat will include three separate tiger exhibits with rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts, and long grasses for catnaps. Tiger Trail will also have a birthing den with an outdoor yard. Ground breaking is expected to occur later this year with completion of the habitat in 2014. Hornbills, a family of birds characterized by a long, down-curved bill, will also find a new home here.
The Safari Park is currently home to five Sumatran tigers. There are fewer than 350 Sumatran tigers in the wild, and that number continues to drop. Scientists estimate that this species could be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020 unless drastic measures are taken to protect and preserve it.
Tigers face many challenges in the wild, from loss of habitat to human-tiger conflict, but the biggest threat continues to be poaching. Tigers are killed by poachers, who illegally sell tiger body parts, mostly for folk remedies. People can help protect wild tigers by making smart consumer decisions to avoid products that harm tiger habitat and refusing to purchase items made from endangered wildlife.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM, Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, the Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.