Ongoing Conservation Programs
Sumatran Orangutan Society
The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) works to protect Orangutans, their forests, and their future. Sumatran Orangutans are critically endangered and without urgent action could be the first Great Ape species to become extinct. SOS is dedicated to improving this situation by saving forests, supporting people and protecting Orangutans. Programs include: rescuing displaced animals, assisting with the rehabilitation process, protecting habitats, restoring forests, providing local education opportunities, teaching agroforestry as well as organic farming. SOS has rescued 132 orangutans, planted 1,775,153 trees, and reached 18,000 local people through education programs. The Gulf Breeze Zoo’s conservation efforts work to save wild populations and develop captive breeding programs. In 2019, the zoo assisted SOS in purchasing 180+ acres of palm oil plantation in an Orangutan buffer zone outside the Leuser National Park. Buffer zones like these are important in avoiding human conflict. With less than 300 Orangutans in North America the Gulf Breeze Zoo appreciates how special it is to work with this incredible species.
Giraffe Conservation Foundation
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) is the only organization in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of Giraffe in the wild throughout Africa. The GCF focuses on increasing Giraffe numbers through anti-poaching units, educational awareness, translocating animals for improved genetics, research, and equipment. There has been a 40% decline in wild Giraffe populations since 1999 due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, human population growth, and illegal hunting (poaching.) The Gulf Breeze Zoo is committed to protecting Giraffe and participate in captive breeding programs. Zoo guests assist us in this mission each time they participate in our Giraffe encounter program or by attending the annual World Giraffe Day celebration.
International Rhino Foundation
The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) began in 1989 as the International Black Rhino Foundation in response to organized poaching decimating Black Rhino populations. In 1993, the organization recognized the escalating crisis facing all five Rhino species, expanded their mission, and changed their name. The IRF works in habitats across Africa, Indonesia, and India solving issues with poaching, forest loss, agricultural development, and human settlement conflicts. Dedicated to the survival of the world’s Rhino species through conservation and research, IRF provides technical (scientific, educational, administrative) and financial resources necessary to facilitate the conservation of rhinos. The Gulf Breeze Zoo is honored to house and breed White Rhinos, while participating with the Zoological Association of America’s Southern White Rhino Animal Management Program. Our Rhino ambassadors also raise awareness and financial support for their wild counterparts through our encounter programs.
Source Population Alliance
In 2010, it was determined that a new alliance was needed to create sustainable hoof stock populations in-order to prevent extinction. In the following years Source Population Alliance (SPA) was formed, creating a working relationship between wildlife parks and private landowners. SPA originally launched with four program species and now has successfully grown to 12 species, such as the Arabian Oryx, Dama Gazelle, Mountain Bongo, Roan, Addax, Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Sable, Anoa, Banteng, Grevy's Zebra, Nubian Ibex, and the Trans Caspian Urial. Gulf Breeze Zoo works with the SPA program to ensure healthy captive populations of exotic ungulates and assist efforts to save their wild counterparts.
Penguin Conservation; Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Founded in 2006, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) is located on the southern tip of South Africa, to address the growing issues facing local wildlife. The Dyer Island ecosystem is home to thousands of seabirds including the iconic African Penguin, Cape Fur Seals, Great White Sharks, and Southern Right Whales. Many of these species have been labeled as Endangered, (likely it will become extinct.) Populations are threatened by pollution, decline in fish abundance, coastal development, and oil spills. The Gulf Breeze Zoo works with the Zoological Association of America’s African Penguin Animal Management Program and provides financial assistance to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust to help save wild Penguin populations.
Cheetah Conservation Fund
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) was founded in Namibia in 1990 and has become a world class research facility providing groundbreaking research in the biology, ecology, and genetics of the Cheetah. With a 90% loss of Cheetah populations in the last 100 years, organizations like CCF are imperative for Cheetah survival. The majority of Cheetahs are found outside protected areas in areas populated by humans. Saving Cheetahs requires innovative conservation methods that address the welfare of both Cheetah and human populations. CCF is a global leader in Cheetah conservation and has been able to effectively stabilize and even increase the wild Cheetah population in Namibia.
Current population trends for the Schmidt’s Guenon are not well known, the last assessment of population numbers was in 2008. It is estimated that there are still healthy wild populations but they are facing growing concerns due to deforestation and over-exploitation through hunting and predation. The Schmidt’s Guenons at the Gulf Breeze Zoo were bound for the bush meat trade in Africa when they were rescued and received a new home in beautiful sunny Florida. The Gulf Breeze Zoo partners with the Zoological Association of America’s Schmidt’s Guenon Animal Management Program to maintain healthy guenon populations.