Expedition Asia: The Animals
Saving disappearing animals
Tigers. Sloth Bears. Amur Leopards. Amazing animals that represent the wonder of Asia’s landscape and sadly, animals that are disappearing in the wild.
Why having these animals at Sunset matters
Sunset leads the way in conservation efforts among facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, ranking in the top 20% of the nearly 240 AZA members in annual conservation support. In 2014, AZA’s collective efforts contributed approximately $154 million to about 3,145 conservation initiatives in 130 countries. At Sunset Zoo, we are passionate about providing you with not only an affordable and accessible entertainment venue but also connecting you to amazing creatures like tigers, sloth bears and Amur leopards and the plights they face in the wild. Over 80,000 guests visit our Zoo each year, creating an opportunity where we can educate and inspire our community to join us in saving these amazing animals.
Since 1900, over 95% of Asia’s wild tigers have disappeared. These graceful creatures used to roam across much of the landscape, thriving in large forest and grassland habitats. Unfortunately, due to factors like habitat loss and poaching, wild populations have decreased dramatically with an estimated 3,500 remaining in the wild today. One of the globe’s most recognizable animals, Asia’s tigers need our help if we hope to reverse their current path to extinction. Learn more about Malayan tigers.
Sloth bears are one of the most unique examples of Asian wildlife and sadly, have been poached from the wild for centuries to be forced to entertain as “dancing bears.” These shaggy-coated animals are also threatened by cultural practices that believe in the medicinal use of their body parts, as well as widespread habitat loss. It is estimated between 6,000 to 10,000 remain in the wild. While NGOs such as Wildlife SOS have achieved some success in mitigating these threats, it is important we build upon their efforts to ensure sloth bears remain for future generations. Learn more about sloth bears.
The conservation of Amur Leopards is critical; it is estimated less than 35 remain in the wild. The animals have lost over 80% of their wild habitat due to unsustainable logging, farmland conversion and forest fires. This is a challenge not only for the leopard population, but also the prey they rely on to survive. Additionally, the cat’s beautiful, spotted fur makes it a target of poachers who have relatively easy access to the forests where Amur leopards live. Anti-poaching efforts and projects to increase the prey population within the leopard’s wild habitat have shown progress but with such critically low wild populations, there is certainly much work to be done. Learn more about Amur leopards.
Ella Casey, Assistant Zoo Director, at 785-587-2737 or firstname.lastname@example.org