Photo Opp – Media check in at Main Office at 10:30 am on May 23rd.
West Palm Beach, FL – May 21st through May 24th, primate professionals from across the country are meeting in West Palm Beach for a chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP) husbandry workshop. Experts representing some of the top facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will be sharing conservation and husbandry expertise during the workshop. Participants will also be hosted by Lion Country Safari for a visit on May 23rd.
Chimpanzees have recently been selected as a highlighted species by the AZA for their SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) program with Lion Country Safari’s primate expert and Curator of Conservation, Research and Chimps, Dr. Tina Cloutier Barbour, leading the nationwide program. AZA’s SAFE program “focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their massive audiences to save species,” according to the AZA website. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are at the forefront of conservation and education and as a combined front work to share conservation messaging with audiences across the world.
Chimpanzees, currently classified as endangered due to a population decrease across Africa, face a number of threats to their existence. Habitat loss, disease, and wildlife trafficking are all major contributing factors to the species’ decline. SSP programs, such as the Chimpanzee SSP, allow zoos to care for healthy, genetically viable populations of threatened and endangered animals whose reproduction helps to ensure the survival of the species.