Conservation in action

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We often mention the need to conserve our wildlife and wild places, but less often do we get to talk about conservation actually happening.

Recently, some accredited zoos (visit ) turned calls for conservation of two critically endangered African species into action.

The large bodied antelopes known as the addax and the scimitar-horned oryx, are essentially gone form their original home ranges in North Africa. A census of addax published in National Geographic a few years ago found fewer than 150 addax. Scimitars are extinct in the wild. However, thanks to the efforts of many people and several like-minded government and non-government organizations, these animals are slowly being reintroduced to the wild.

This would not be possible without zoos (and aquariums).

At a time when animal rights critics seem to be shouting louder than ever that we don't need zoos, here's the perfect example of why we do need accredited zoos!

For many years, zoos in the U.S. and Europe have been the only repository for these and other critically endangered species of animals.

Despite their poor population numbers in the wild, there are approximately 1,400 scimitars in zoos and some 600 addax, too!

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium has been home to breeding populations of these animals for the past two decades. Like so many of our peers, we're committed to preserving these animals in zoos and in the wild, which is why our institution has made financial donations to the reintroduction efforts in Tunisia. (Visit to learn more about the fragile African desert ecosystem and efforts to save it.)

So, visit us at Wildlife World Zoo and see a little bit of conservation in action. While you're here, check out our newest arrival, another baby addax!

Grey Stafford, Ph.D. is the Director of Conservation and Communications at the Wildlife World Zoo and author of the new pet-training book, " ". He appears frequently on 3TV with some of the zoo's fascinating animals.

Wildlife World Zoo, which is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, is open 365 days a year, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Daytime admission is $16.99 (plus tax) for adults and $8.99 (plus tax) for children 3 to 12; children 2 and younger get in free. For more information, call 623-935-WILD (9453) or visit .