Your generous donation ensures our ability to care for all of these important animals — to save and preserve their future, and educate our community in the process.
Contributions, of any amount, help us maintain the important work happening here at the zoo. From excellent animal care and conservation to engaging guest experiences and public education, we rely on your help to implement our important mission.
Please send what you can to ensure the continued care and protection of some of the most vulnerable species on the planet.
Amid a densely wooded corner of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s Wildlife Trail, red wolves Cheyenne and Waya playfully dart through shrubs and trees, happily chasing one another.
The pair — introduced in 2019 and relocated into their specially built exhibit in 2020 — are blissfully unaware of a daunting reality. They are among the most critically endangered species of canine in the world.
Almost driven to extinction in the mid-1900s, red wolves once again face a precarious situation. Fewer than 10 remain in the wild and all of them can be found in the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.
About 250 more are being protected throughout the United States by accredited and carefully monitored facilities like the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Collectively, we’re following the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a population management and conservation program designed to save critically endangered animals.
Together, we’re working hard to save the red wolves from extinction.
When you visit the zoo, you’ll notice Cheyenne and Waya’s habitat is purposefully remote. The shy
animals — with reddish tints on their nose, ears, and legs — prefer secluded spots and an underground
den that help them feel secure. And, keeping them distant from humans is essential. Hands-off care with minimal human interaction will keep the red wolves as naturally wild as possible.
Why is this important? Because, while Cheyenne and Waya were born in captivity, their biologically
diverse offspring will — hopefully — be released into the wild. This type of captive breeding will enable
the red wolf population to survive.
Conservation in Action!
The red wolf is just one type of endangered animal we support through our species survival programs.
In fact, the zoo is in charge of five studbooks, which document genetic and breeding history for:
We also participate in survival programs for the Amur tiger, Amur leopard, black and white ruffed lemur, Humboldt penguin, red panda, snow leopard, and Panamanian golden frog, among others. And we’re a nationally recognized leader in the care and husbandry of critically endangered Asian elephants.
On behalf of Cheyenne, Waya, and their future cubs — and all of the animals here at the zoo — thank you for your support and for being a part of our Friends of the Zoo family. We are grateful for you!
Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
P.S. After sending in your donation, don’t forget to come see us and witness your investment in action! Say hello to our incredibly hard-working team and, of course, to all of our animals.