80 — The Denver Zoo has 80 acres of property that its visitors can explore
3,000 — More than 3,000 animals live at the Denver Zoo
450 — The Denver Zoo houses about 450 different species of animals
400 — About 400 staff members help operate the Denver Zoo
2 million — Roughly 2 million people visit the Denver Zoo each year
… the Denver Zoo’s president and CEO, Bert Vescolani, is a former science teacher?
Vescolani is proud to say that the zoo puts on hundreds of programs for tens of thousands of students annually. Various educational programs are available for all ages and include virtual classrooms; camps; school field trips; student career resources, including shadowing a zookeeper; many volunteer opportunities; and even graduate degree programs.
These programs are not to mention the on-site education every zoo-goer can receive by simply viewing the animals and exhibits, and visiting the Denver Zoo’s new Schlessman Family Foundation Visitor and Education Center where people can view the zoo’s veterinarians caring for the animals in real time inside the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital.
… the Denver Zoo spends about $2 million each year on conservation efforts?
The Denver Zoo’s Field Conservation Department has programs across the Front Range, working with bison and the American pika — which is a small mammal that is a member of the rabbit family — and mitigating the impacts of I-70 on wildlife.
Outside of the U.S., the zoo’s Field Conservation Department works with vultures, sheep, gazelle and falcons in Mongolia; frogs in Peru; and the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey in Vietnam. These programs are in addition to a small grants program for zoo staff, staff-nominated emergency conservation projects and ongoing staff projects, all of which take place across the globe.
The Denver Zoo’s president and CEO, Bert Vescolani, believes that animals have a way of making us humans feel special.
“We want to inspire communities to save wildlife for future generations,” Vescolani said, “and see a world where wildlife thrives.”
The Denver Zoo started out as a place where people could see and learn about the wildlife of the local region. Since then, technology for animal care has advanced, ideas and concepts for exhibits have developed, and efforts such as sustainability, conservation and public education have excelled. Today, the Denver Zoo can boast that it offers its visitors a glimpse into the diversity of wildlife found across the world.
MORE: 125 years of the Denver Zoo
“Most people won’t get to see these animals in the wild,” Vescolani said. “We’re here to help people understand the importance of these animals.”
Zoos serve as a connector to education and a “mini window into the wild,” said Jake Kubié, director of communications for the Denver Zoological Foundation.
Kubié added that the overarching mission of the Denver Zoo is, quite simply, to connect people to animals.
“We want them to love animals as much as we do.”
MORE: A day at the Denver Zoo
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