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Happy Earth Day from the ABQ BioPark

The BioPark is working to make the Earth a better place through animal conservation programs. You can help too.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the ABQ BioPark is proud to take part in a number of initiatives to help save some of the Earth's most imperiled animals. 

How the ABQ BioPark is Making a Difference

Shelldon the Sea Turtle in May 2018

Thanks to the support of the New Mexico BioPark Society, the BioPark has the capacity to work at home and abroad to protect animals and their habitat. 

Abroad

In West Africa, the ABQ BioPark has had boots on the ground since 2014 to help save the critically endangered West African slender-snouted crocodile. In each of the last six years, staff have made the journey to the Ivory Coast to help local conservationists successfully breed the crocodiles, offer supplies, monitor wild populations and help do research to establish a conservation zone that will benefit a number of species. 

The ABQ BioPark also has a strong bird rearing program for two species that are extinct in the wild: Mexico's Socorro dove and the Guam kingfisher. The BioPark has welcomed dozens of chicks between these two conservation programs. One day, conservationists hope to release these two species back into the wild, but they first have to make sure the animals have suitable habitat. In the meantime, the ABQ BioPark is helping to keep their populations in human care healthy and genetically strong.

The Aquarium has contributed to ocean conservation in several ways. They have an active coral propagation program. The facility grows coral behind the scenes and sends it to other facilities like the Oklahoma City Zoo, Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christie, and California Science Center in Los Angeles so that these zoos and aquariums can use coral as an educational tool for conservation without contributing to more coral loss in the sea. The Aquarium also played host to Shelldon, a rescued loggerhead sea turtle, who was part of a rescue-education-release program. Shelldon is now swimming in the ocean again thanks to the care he received in Albuquerque!

Many ABQ BioPark staff also volunteer their time to help in conservation facilities across the globe. For example, just this past January, Zookeeper Ashley Bauer spent a month working with rescued shorebirds (mostly penguins) as a volunteer at Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in Africa.

At Home

Here at home, the ABQ BioPark is part of a number of breeding programs to help supplement dwindling native animal populations. This includes the Mexican gray wolf, the Northern Mexican garter snake, the Sacramento Mountain salamander and the Rio Grande silvery minnow. The Zoo takes in a number of animals that can no longer survive in the wild like Larabee the mountain lion cub and owls like Athena and Orion, who both suffered wing injuries. Read more about our local conservation programs.

On the plant side, the Botanic Garden is working to conserve New Mexico native plant species like the endangered Sacramento prickly poppy, and two federal and New Mexico species of concern, Fugate's amsonia and New Mexico beardtongue. BioPark staff are also actively working on restoring the landscape at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiú, which suffered from a catastrophic flood in 2015. So far, they've planted trees and shrubs, and are establishing a larger-scale plant conservation program at the BioPark.

The ABQ BioPark has also taken a number of steps to go more green in its operations. This includes new solar panels at the Zoo and Botanic Garden parking lots, electric vehicle charging stations and compostable dinnerware at its eateries.

What Can I Do From Home?

BioPark Botanic Garden Butterfly Monarch

There are several ways you can help make a difference for the planet and wild animals. 

First, join us in signing this petition calling on world leaders to support a Global Deal for Nature that protects and restores half of the Earth’s lands and oceans.

You can also take simple actions in your day-to-day life:

Learn more about what you can do on our What You Can Do conservation page.