By Savannah Beverly, Development Intern
Your Akron Zoo is excited to collaborate with Wildlife SOS for our annual event Hope for the Wild. Established in 1995, Wildlife SOS was founded by a small group of individuals that all shared the same goal: to protect and preserve India’s wildlife and forests.
Though the Akron Zoo makes large strides in educating zoo guests about current conservation issues and ways they can make a difference, it can be difficult to communicate the significant work that the zoo does behind the scenes to generate a positive change for many species facing conservation concerns. Protection, education, and conservation are our top priorities, which is why the Akron Zoo partners with over 20 conservation organizations around the world to protect and save wildlife.
On May 2, we will be hosting our third annual Hope for the Wild. This unique event focuses on conservation issues, as told by Wildlife SOS. We are excited to have Katrick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani, co-founders of Wildlife SOS, as our guest speakers.
Katrick and Geeta travel across the U.S., educating people of the amazing work Wildlife SOS is doing to save India’s natural habitats. Before the start-up of Wildlife SOS, these two shared a purpose to help India’s wildlife in whatever way they could. They first dedicated themselves to putting an end to the harmful practice of ‘dancing’ bears. This is where wild sloth bear cubs are taken from their mother, who is often killed, and forced to entertain the public. This abusive practice places the bears above burning wood, making them stand on their hind legs and lift each paw to relieve it from the heat, imitating dancing. Katrick and Geeta were then inspired to create Wildlife SOS to expand the species they advocated for and rescued.
Wildlife SOS now works to conserve various species, with current projects targeted to help leopards, elephants, reptiles, and many other endangered species. Their approach to conservation is to find innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint and develop sustainability practices. They also work with universities and organizations across the world to develop research to better help these animals.
Today, the organization takes action against animal cruelty by rescuing animals in distress, working to resolve the conflict between man and animal, and advocating for animal rights through educating people on these issues, both in India and around the world. Many of their efforts are focused on, but not limited to:
- Ending abusive practice of ‘dancing’ sloth bears
- Conserving moon bears affected by large-scale deforestation
- Rescuing injured or malnourished elephants in urban areas
- Ending poaching of Indian leopards
- Saving wild primates from illegal domestication
Wildlife SOS has developed awareness programs to encourage healthy community participation in conservation initiatives. Their audiences are typically local village communities, school children, and college-aged youth. They believe that informing people at early ages will help to instill responsible behaviors towards wildlife. When conflicts do arise between humans and wildlife, Wildlife SOS is available to rescue the animals and if they are injured, rehabilitate them.
Your Akron Zoo is excited to bring Wildlife SOS to our community. Their experiences will bring light to current conservation issues on the other side of the globe. To save wildlife, we must first understand the challenges wildlife face.
Join the conversation! Tickets to our Hope for the Wild event are still available.