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A California condor will soar above a rhino, a lion and a globe showcasing SDZWA’s worldwide conservation partnerships

Source:  San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

November 14, 2021 (San Diego) - On New Year’s Day, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance will participate in the 133rd Rose Parade presented by Honda, with a float representing the organization’s past, present and future in wildlife conservation—depicting a lion, a California condor and a rhinoceros. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is an international conservation organization with “two front doors”: the San Diego Zoo near downtown San Diego and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California. The float’s theme, “Creating Wildlife Allies,” brings to life San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s commitment to conservation in eight major regions across six continents, with over 200 collaborative conservation partners.

"Conservation is at the heart of everything we do, and it starts with the connection we make with people and wildlife every day at the Zoo and Safari Park,” said Paul. A. Baribault, president and chief executive officer of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “True conservation successes are only made possible through local and global partnerships that include communities, fellow conservation organizations, government agencies, as well as support from our amazing members, donors, guests, foundations, and companies who support our mission and make it possible for us to welcome more than 5.5 million guests a year to the Zoo and Safari Park.”

The lion on the float represents the founding of our world-famous San Diego Zoo in 1916, as well as the organization’s commitment to lion conservation efforts. The California condor highlights the Alliance’s groundbreaking work to save this species, including the recent discovery that two female California condors were hatched without any genetic contributions from a male, through parthenogenesis—the first time the phenomenon has been observed in this species. The rhino is the icon of our Safari Park and represents the ongoing work at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center to save the critically endangered northern white rhino: where only two individuals of this species remain on the planet.

The planned floral array on the float will illustrate that both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are accredited botanical gardens that feature over 2 million plants—and  serves as a reminder of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s dedication to plant conservation through its many efforts, including the Wildlife Biodiversity Bank. A flowing waterfall will highlight the vital importance of water — essential to all life on earth. “Hello World,” by Aloe Blacc will be broadcast from the float throughout the parade.

The rotating globe on the float will display the locations of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s eight “conservation hubs.” Surrounding the globe will be eight scientists who work on conservation programs in each of these regions. With more than 200 partners around the world, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is creating greater outcomes for wildlife, for the next generation and beyond.

When partnering with local communities around the world, education is a key component to all of the Alliance’s work—and education initiatives reach both the minds and hearts of the organization’s partners. Alliance staff have seen firsthand the effects of collaborative conservation education and research efforts to help safeguard and restore biodiversity, foster human-wildlife coexistence, reintroduce wildlife into native habitats, contribute to ecosystem restoration and health, mitigate disease and preserve genetic resources.

Surrounding the float will be a variety of beloved puppets, who will engage with Rose Parade viewers. Typically seen on grounds at the San Diego Zoo, these performers will entertain the crowds as flamboyant flamingos, giant giraffes and a rowdy rhino. There will also be several kids walking alongside the float to symbolize the organization’s worldwide educational efforts through San Diego Zoo’s Wildlife Explorers youth program and a fantastic new experience opening across nearly 3.5 acres at the San Diego Zoo in February 2022: Wildlife Explorers Basecamp. This new destination is designed to educate, engage, entertain and inspire empathy towards wildlife in the next generation of conservationists.

The last time San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance had a float in the Rose Parade was in 1996, in celebration of the Zoo’s 80th anniversary.

SDZWA Float Riders Include:

Savanna: Dr. Stephen Chege, SDZWA team member (Kenya)

Amazonia: Dr. Jose Luis Mena, SDZWA team member (Peru)

Oceans: Krista Wright, Executive Director, Polar Bears International

Southwest: Dr. Charlie de la Rosa, SDZWA employee

Australia: Jen Tobey, SDZWA employee

Asian Rainforest: Dr. Elizabeth Davis, SDZWA employee

Pacific Islands: Dr. Hanna Mounce, Coordinator, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project

Africa Forest: Dr. Ekwoge Abwe, SDZWA team member (Cameroon)

About San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance 

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit international conservation leader, committed to inspiring a passion for nature and creating a world where all life thrives. The Alliance empowers people from around the globe to support their mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance supports cutting-edge conservation and brings the stories of their work back to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park—giving millions of guests, in person and virtually, the opportunity to experience conservation in action. The work of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance extends from San Diego to strategic and regional conservation “hubs” across the globe, where their strengths—via their “Conservation Toolbox,” including the renowned Wildlife Biodiversity Bank—are able to effectively align with hundreds of regional partners to improve outcomes for wildlife in more coordinated efforts. By leveraging these tools in wildlife care and conservation science, and through collaboration with hundreds of partners, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has reintroduced more than 44 endangered species to native habitats. Each year, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work reaches over 1 billion people in 150 countries via news media, social media, their websites, educational resources and the San Diego Zoo Kids channel, which is in children’s hospitals in 13 countries. Success is made possible by the support of members, donors and guests to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, who are Wildlife Allies committed to ensuring all life thrives.  

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