Zoos around the world receive about 800 million visitors each year. This means that 800 million people hear our messages about the importance of conservation and protecting our endangered species. This means that we can encourage 800 million people to protect our biodiversity. No other institution can possibly have such an impact. Throughout the world, zoos are in fact one of the largest providers of funds for the preservation of the animal kingdom (according to WAZA). Zoos also carry out work in the field including protection programmes, work for the conservation of biodiversity and scientific research programmes. Furthermore, information about animal behaviour that we have learnt in zoos can then be applied in the field and vice versa. The contribution of zoos is huge and is welcomed by the international community, including the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
More specifically at Beauval, our Beauval Conservation and Research Association (Association Beauval Conservation & Recherche) gives more than €250,000 each year to fifteen carefully selected programmes. Some of these programmes have been developed by Beauval directly. Others have been funded by Beauval from the start and have since grown, becoming impressive programmes that have saved thousands of individuals and in some cases entire species. Without zoos, some species simply would no longer exist as zoos have allowed genetic diversity to be maintained thus enabling successful reintroduction into the wild (Przewalski’s horses, lion tamarins, and the Mauritian pink pigeon are just a few examples).
Through housing the pandas, we at Beauval want to inform our visitors about protection in a hard-hitting way. We sincerely believe that for one to want to protect something, one must first know about and love that thing. Our hearts can drive a project forward, far better than our reason… If that wasn’t the case, our planet would have been saved long ago! We believe that it is whilst witnessing the grace of an antelope, the power of a tiger, and the love inspired by a panda, that people wake up and say to themselves ‘this animal must not disappear’. This is how it is possible to save these animal ambassadors, as well as the many other species they represent.
We are proud of our visitors and supporters who participate in our conservation programmes and donate money to us through sponsorship, thus allowing us to put even more into ‘in-situ protection’, that is to say protection in the natural habitat. Thanks to the pandas, we can develop our other programmes, such as protection programmes for Somali wild ass in Djibouti, poison arrow frogs in South America, tree kangaroos in New Guinea, lemurs in Madagascar, and many many more.
Thank you to all those who support us, and thank you for investing along with us in conservation.