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San Diego Zoo Global evolves into the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

The new name and vision of a world where all life thrives more accurately reflects the organization’s focus on wildlife conservation.

A herd of elephants in the wild
Image Credits Photography courtesy of the San Diego Zoo

Today, on World Wildlife Day, San Diego Zoo Global is evolving into the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA), broadening integrated approaches to protecting and conserving wildlife around the globe, an all-new brand identity which emphasizes the health of wildlife, people, and the environment are interconnected and linked to the health of our planet. The new name and vision of a world where all life thrives more accurately reflects the organization’s focus on wildlife conservation which started in Southern California more than 100 years ago.

“While the San Diego Zoo is synonymous with some of the greatest advancements in wildlife care and conservation, our future depends on a sustained and committed focus to the health and well-being of all life on earth,” says Paul Baribault, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “We must evolve to meet the growing needs of wildlife in the 21st century and we can’t do this alone. We are placing partnerships and hope at the heart of our organization through this transformation. As the first responders to wildlife in need, our reason for existence and our responsibility is to share our expertise to improve outcomes. That requires global collaboration in animal care, innovative solutions to halt the loss of biodiversity, and dedication to a one health approach.”

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s expertise in caring for wildlife is at the core of what makes it a unique player in conservation. The deep and extensive knowledge from more than a century of experience around wildlife care, health, nutrition, and conservation science makes the Alliance invaluable in the global effort to save species. Its evidence-based approach leverages the diverse skills of its teams and partners, showcasing the limitless potential of how, together, partners can change outcomes for wildlife in their native habitats. And it all starts with the plants and animals the Alliance supports at home in San Diego.

Unique to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance are the two “front doors” of the organization, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. These parks are essential to fulfilling the mission of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, transferring the knowledge that team members garner on the ground in San Diego into meaningful and impactful conservation work around the globe. More than five million visitors annually walk through these two front doors, where they get to engage with and directly learn about some of the wildlife the organization is dedicated to saving.  

At the core of its commitment to the wildlife at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is showing up as a strong partner and collaborator with a global network of nearly 200 leading and renowned conservation organizations, including Save the Elephants, Polar Bears International, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northern Rangelands Trust, and many others with a common goal of protecting the world’s wildlife. 

“Saving wildlife starts with people and community involvement is key to successful conservation efforts,” says Nadine Lamberski, chief conservation and wildlife health officer at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “We share our expertise, learn from the experiences of our partners, and work together with local communities to develop the tools needed to safeguard biodiversity which is necessary for a healthy, thriving planet.”

Over the past 105 years, the Alliance has conceptualized, developed, and honed a unique set of skills and strengths that have become a big part of the role it plays in greater conservation efforts globally. This unique “Conservation Toolbox” includes expertise in conservation technology, ecological applications, reproductive management; community engagement; disease surveillance; genetic rescue; education; wildlife health, nutrition and care, and is also home to one of the Alliance’s most valuable assets for the world’s wildlife — the Wildlife Biodiversity Bank — a resource consisting of living cell lines that can be used to bring species back from the brink of extinction, as just witnessed with the Przewalski’s horse and black footed ferret, to help us restore populations to their native habitats one day.  

Three rhinos grazing

However, while the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has had major successes globally, there remain a host of threats to the planet, including climate change, biodiversity loss, invasive species, habitat degradation, human-wildlife conflict, wildlife trafficking, and emerging diseases, that require conservation organizations to step up their efforts more rapidly and more strategically than ever before, with a greater commitment to changing outcomes for wildlife. 

“If the past twelve months have shown us anything, it’s that everything is interconnected,” says Lamberski. “2020 was our wake-up call and 2021 provides a turning point. We have the opportunity to build back better, to restore the balance of nature, and foster a healthy, equitable world where all life thrives.”

Swimming penguins

That’s the first step. The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance further aims to make wildlife conservation understandable by all, providing audiences with a heightened awareness of the opportunities and challenges that wildlife face today, and showing how real impact is achieved through partnerships around the globe. And, with partners around the world, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is aligning to transform the future of conservation and save threatened species worldwide.  

Tied to the launch, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance sought to collaborate with a world-renowned artist whose art defines transformation and shares a mutual view of the world with a lens filled with hope. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance partnered with world-renowned artist, Romero Britto, to unveil a commissioned one-of-a-kind mural to help convey the importance of this change and the urgent nature of the challenge wildlife faces. Britto’s work represents the importance of conservation, the urgency of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s mission, and a renewed hope and awareness to the importance of saving wildlife worldwide.

“As an artist, I am in the business of hope. These wonderful creatures don’t have a voice, so we must advocate for their future,” says Britto. “I believe my art can inspire someone and make them stop and really think about something in a new way that sparks action, awareness and hope. With this grand focus by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance on the importance of partnerships, I look to share how I’ve been inspired by their mission, and can inspire more people to get involved and support their efforts to save wildlife.” 

In the spirit of global conservation, Alaska Airlines has joined forces with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance to donate 1 million miles to support San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s efforts. 

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is committed to turning all guests into “Allies For Wildlife” to help support solutions to the greatest conservation challenges of our lifetime. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance family and friends can help save the world’s wildlife by joining the Alliance by becoming a member, donating at SDZWA.org, or visiting the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.



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