January 25, 2012 | Two renowned organizations with exceptional track records have partnered to conserve millions of acres of tropical forest and wildlife habitat.
Nature and Culture International is joining forces with San Diego Zoo Global to make a lasting difference for species, communities and the planet. The two organizations are collaborating on four initial projects in Central and South America that will improve the future for animal species and local people by protecting the healthy ecosystems on which both depend.
“By combining the expertise and efforts of our two organizations, we begin a pioneering conservation partnership that addresses the needs of both humans and wild animals,” said Rick Gulley, President of San Diego Zoo Global. “Our initial projects in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia will enhance the whole ecosystem focus that Nature and Culture International has used so effectively to conserve plant and animal species in partnership with local people.”
These initial projects – totaling more than 1.3 million acres – include: the Maijuna Regional Conservation Area; the Sierra de Alamos; the Cazaderos Forest Reserve; the Chocó Conservation Corridor; and Seeding the Future – an initiative to prepare millions of additional acres for protection.
In 2011, the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy announced the expansion of its international conservation program by assuming operation of a field research station in Peru. Now, San Diego Zoo Global’s relationship with Nature and Culture International links it with an organization that has been working with governments and people in developing countries for 15 years. Those efforts have led to the conservation of 7.7 million acres of rainforest and other key wildlife habitat in Latin America. The Zoo’s Wildlife Conservancy will contribute its expertise in wildlife and native plant research and management as part of the combined effort.
“This partnership is a natural extension of the work that San Diego Zoo Global has done to bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction,” noted Ivan Gayler, founder of Nature and Culture International and the 2010 recipient of the Zoo’s Conservation Medal. “The Wildlife Conservancy’s contribution to understanding the flora and fauna of threatened tropical ecosystems and applying that knowledge to the sustainable use of forest resources by local people will certainly enhance the productivity of our mutual work protecting landscape-scale habitats for generations to come.”
Established in 1997 and based in San Diego, Nature and Culture International is most active in the four Latin American countries where the initial partnership projects will be implemented — Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Colombia. With the crucial support and participation of local communities, Nature and Culture provides the technical, educational, financial and legal assistance to protect threatened ecosystems where the vast majority of endangered and endemic species are found.