A Legacy of Action

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More than 45 years ago, the Phoenix Zoo joined "Operation Oryx" and we've been active participants in global conservation efforts ever since.

Operation Oryx was an innovative program developed by the United Kingdom's Fauna Preservation Society to capture the last remaining Arabian oryx from the wild, develop a captive breeding program and ultimately reintroduce the animals back to their native land. Operation Oryx was an amazing effort involving cooperation between governments and conservation organizations on several continents. The expedition itself was literally a race to get to the animals before the last wild oryx were killed by hunters. Thankfully, the capture team was successful. On June 25, 1963, four Arabian oryx arrived in Phoenix, initiating an extraordinary legacy of commitment to zoo-based support of conservation programs that benefit animals in their native habitats.

When it took on the enormous responsibility of safeguarding an entire species, the Phoenix Zoo was just barely a year old, and species conservation concepts were in their infancy. While oryx continue to face significant pressures in the wild, it is clear now that without the foresight of the Phoenix Zoo staff who diligently cared for the critically important "world herd," it is likely that the Arabian oryx would be extinct in the wild today. Instead, hundreds of oryx live in zoos and wildlife preserves around the world, and most importantly, in the wild. Most of these animals can be traced back to the original individuals sent to Phoenix in 1963.

Since that first exciting foray into global conservation action, our dedication to species-specific conservation continues. The Phoenix Zoo has 39 species in the collection that are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan® program. Species Survival Plans (SSPs) were developed to highlight species deemed to be highly endangered, and in need of cooperative captive management to maintain the genetic viability of the species. Today SSPs are also actively involved with in situ (in the wild) conservation programs that are instrumental in supporting the species' continued existence in the wild through habitat protection, restoration, scientific research, conservation education, and in some cases, reintroduction. As a member of these SSPs, the Phoenix Zoo looks for ways to play an essential role in these in situ conservation efforts.

We are also actively involved in significant local species-specific conservation programs, including those for the Mexican wolf, black-footed ferrets, masked bobwhite quail, Chiricahua leopard frog and many more.

As a result of our history of involvement in local conservation, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission recently named the Phoenix Zoo "Conservation Organization of the Year." We are extremely proud of this honor and will continue to seek ways to support species specific in situ conservation though partnerships with local, state, federal, and international agencies.

Your support of the Zoo allows us to continue this incredible legacy of conservation success. And for that, we sincerely thank you.

The Phoenix Zoo is located at 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. Rain or shine, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Day (Dec. 25). Regular-season hours (Sept. 1-May 31) are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Summer hours (June 1-Aug. 31) are 7 a.m.-1 p.m. during the week and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. on the weekends Admission is $14 for adults, $6 for children and $9 for seniors. For more information, call 602-273-1341 or visit .