The readers’ forum

Connect with nature at Zoo Miami

 

We at the Zoological Society of Florida (ZSF) know how important Zoo Miami is to the community in which we live. With close to 1 million visitors to Zoo Miami in 2013, higher than any other local attraction or wildlife park, we recognize the zoo’s meaning to the people of Miami.

Zoo Miami is a world-class institution that provides educational opportunities and wildlife conservation programs; vital tasks in a world where the human impact on the environment, especially animal habitats, becomes more pronounced by the day.

Zoo Miami and the ZSF work closely with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and private schools to offer a wide array of educational programs to make the classroom experience in biology and natural science more memorable and relevant to young minds. Just as important, the zoo helps children and teenagers understand how their individual decisions can affect the natural world, an important realization given the environmental stresses a growing population places on the planet.

More than 300,000 students under the age of 11 visited last year, and we believe that we made a positive change on each and every one of them.

As one of the country’s leading zoos, Zoo Miami has an important role in wildlife conservation. It cares for more than 2,000 animals, representing more than 300 species, a number of which are endangered or vulnerable. Many live in open range exhibits which, combined with the tropical climate, closely replicate natural habitats, giving them a healthy, comfortable home. The zoo also takes part in cooperative breeding programs, which help ensure the long-term viability of threatened species by giving them a genetic lifeline as wild populations dwindle. Externally, the zoo works with conservation groups worldwide to bring their expertise to bear on specific areas of need.

Zoo Miami is a place where family and friends of all ages can spend uninterrupted time together connected to nature, a low-cost luxury in an increasingly hectic and stressed age. With more than 60,000 visitors during $5 days, we see segments of the community that might not otherwise have visited us. With a combined 43,000 people in attendance, Egg Safari and Zoo Boo are a couple of our larger holiday celebrations also offered in the zoo’s safe and clean environment.

With pride and conviction we can say that there has never been a better time to support Zoo Miami, Miami-Dade parks, beaches and open spaces. We thank all of you for your encouragement and support for this outstanding institution. For those that haven’t visited in some time, we invite all of you to come and see the progress and enjoy the ever-changing Zoo Miami.

Bill Moore, president and CEO, Zoological Society of Florida, Miami

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