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Helping Shape the Future

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Changing Minds by Touching Hearts

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Cheetah Conservation

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Global Conservation Efforts

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Conservation at the Park

At Virginia Safari Park, we are devoted to conserving wildlife both on our property and in their native habitats. Our approach to these efforts is multifaceted – public education, habitat preservation, captive breeding programs, and offering financial assistance and aid to conservation projects in the wild.

Virginia Safari Park, along with Gulf Breeze Zoo and Alabama Safari Park, also run by the Zoofari Parks, has given aid to organizations working in more than 130 countries worldwide. We team up with other zoological facilities and experts out in the field to solve the most dire wildlife problems, which are constantly changing. Among the efforts we support are the translocation of giraffes across the Nile River, the installation of artificial nest sites for wild penguins, and the creation and maintenance of anti-poaching units for rhinoceroses and elephants.

Conservation is vital not only abroad but also in our local vicinity and region. We aim to assist in the conservation efforts close to home as much as we support their international counterparts.

Virginia Safari Park is privately owned and receives no state or federal tax support. Funding for conservation programs is made possible through the continued support of our visitors. Conservation is fundamental in our daily operations, and we encourage our guests to join us in making a positive impact.

Ongoing Conservation Programs

Giraffe Conservation Foundation

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) is the only organization in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffes 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). Alabama Safari Park is committed to protecting giraffes and participating in captive breeding programs. Park guests assist us in this mission each time they participate in our giraffe romaine feeding experience or by attending the annual World Giraffe Day celebration.

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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.

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Penguin Conservation; Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Founded in 2006, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) is located on the southern tip of South Africa and addresses 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. Populations are threatened by pollution, decline in fish abundance, coastal development and oil spills.

Virginia Safari Park 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.

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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: Arabian oryx, dama gazelle, mountain bongo, roan, addax, scimitar-horned oryx, sable, anoa, banteng, Grevy's zebra, Nubian ibex and the Transcaspian urial. All of the Zoofari Park facilities work with the SPA program to ensure healthy captive populations of exotic ungulates and assist efforts to save their wild counterparts.

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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.

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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 and teaching agroforestry as well as organic farming. As of 2019, SOS has rescued 132 orangutans, planted 1,775,153 trees and reached 18,000 local people through education programs. The Zoofari Parks’ conservation efforts work to save wild populations and develop captive breeding programs. In 2019, we 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 fewer than 300 orangutans in North America, the Gulf Breeze Zoo location is honored to care for such an incredible species.

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ECO-CELL, Electronic Gadget Recycling

Electronic waste has a tremendous impact on the planet, more so than any other consumer product. It takes a lot of energy, resources and rare materials to make gadgets. Many gadgets contain conflict minerals (natural resources extracted in a conflict zone). The four main African conflict resources that are essential to creating cell phones are gold, tantalum (coltan), tungsten and tin. Many of these minerals are mined inside the Congo, home to the several species found at the Alabama Safari Park. This recycling program allows guests to directly impact troubled wildlife and provides a positive way for individuals to create actual results. The Alabama Safari Park is a registered drop-off site for the ECO-CELL gadget recycling program, accepting items such as cell phones, iPods, iPads, tablets, adapters, chargers, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems and their accessories.

The Virginia Safari Park partners with ECO-CELL to help:
- Extend technology lifespan
- Reclaim gadget precious metals to create jobs
- Reduce environmental stress
- Deter landfill toxic waste

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Cheetah Conservation Botswana

Cheetahs are considered Africa's most threatened 'big cat.' Nearly 25% of wild cheetah populations are found in Botswana, and more than 70% of the population live outside of protected areas. Cheetah Conservation Botswana focuses on saving cheetahs in the Kalahari, which has the highest density of cheetahs in the country. One of the most successful programs has been placing livestock guardian dogs with farmers, working with locals to avoid human-wildlife conflicts. CCB also works to save cheetahs by empowering local communities through educational bush camps, adaptive livestock management, and researching cheetah behavior.

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Grevy's Zebra Trust

Established in 2007, the Grevy's Zebra Trust is the only organization in the world solely focused on saving this endangered species of zebra. With an 80% decline in the population since the 1970s, there are barely 3,000 remaining in the wild. Zebras compete with local livestock for adequate food in the drylands of Kenya and Ethiopia. The Grevy's Zebra Trust’s most important role has been working with communities to develop healthy rangeland management to correct overgrazing in the region.

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Pollinators Partnership

Since 1997, the Pollinators Partnership has been the world's largest organization working on pollinator issues that affect the world's food supply. Pollinators come in many shapes and forms, such as birds, bees, butterflies, bats, and more. There has been a steady decline in these populations due to disease, parasites, pesticides, and habitat loss. The Partnership works with scientists, governments, conservationists, and private industries throughout North America to promote pollinators' health.

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Wildlife Alliance

Wildlife Alliance is the leader in the direct protection of forests and wildlife in the Southeast Asian tropical belt with the mission to combat deforestation, wildlife extinction, climate change, and poverty by partnering with local communities and governments.

One of the most successful programs has achieved zero elephant poaching since 2006 while proving 24/7 ranger patrols across nearly 1.5 million acres of land. With a high success rate minimizing poaching in the region, the Wildlife Alliance is now working on a tiger reintroduction plan in Cambodia. The last recorded tiger in Cambodia was in 2007. Populations were wiped out largely due to poaching of tigers and their prey for the illegal wildlife trade.

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Okapi Conservation Project

The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP) is devoted to protecting the okapi and preserving its habitat. The OCP supports the management of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helps local communities find sustainable ways of living, and provides an extensive refuge for the region's endangered creatures.

The reserve contains 101 mammal species, some of the most notable are: okapi, chimpanzee, forest elephant, and the forest antelope bongo. One of the lesser-known species found in the region is Schmidt's guenon, which is facing growing concerns due to deforestation and hunting.

The Schmidt's guenons at the Gulf Breeze Zoo were bound for the bushmeat trade in Africa when they were rescued and received a new home. The zoo partners with the Zoological Association of America's Schmidt's Guenon Animal Management Program to maintain healthy guenon populations.

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Anteaters & Highways

The grasslands and forests of Brazil's Cerrado biome support some of the largest remaining populations of the iconic New World species, giant anteaters. Today the Cerrado is undergoing rapid agricultural development and is fragmented by an ever-increasing network of roads.

Unfortunately, giant anteaters are among the animals most frequently killed on these roads, and road mortalities now pose a serious threat to the species’ long-term survival. The Anteaters & Highways Project works to address this threat by collecting data on how anteaters interact with the roadways.

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Sahara Conservation Fund

The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) was established in 2004 to address the largely ignored and catastrophic wave of extinction threatening the large bird and mammal fauna in North Africa. SCF focuses on reserve management, humanitarian assistance, and providing regional expertise. SCF is a leading source of technical expertise in the conservation and restoration of highly threatened species in the Sahele-Saharan ecosystem.

They are known for their flagship project, reintroducing Scimitar-horned oryx back into the wild. In January 2020, the Gulf Breeze Zoo sent staff to the Republic of Chad to assist the SCF with their addax and dama gazelle conservation programs in the field.

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BirdLife International, Vulture Crisis

The BirdLife International Partnership, striving to conserve birds, habitats, and global diversity, works with people toward sustainability in the use of natural resources. Eleven out of 16 species of vultures are at risk of extinction. Experts believe over 60% of vulture deaths are due to poisoning.

In 2017, the BirdLife International Partnership assisted with the first-ever Multi-species Action Plan for African-Eurasian Vultures. This ambitious plan outlines steps to conserve all threatened vultures in over 128 countries. The Gulf Breeze Zoo recognizes the important role vultures play in minimizing the spread of disease and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

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Your Visit

Plan your trip to the Virginia Safari Park! Get driving directions from seven nearby cities/states, as well as links to other local attractions. You can also buy tickets and download a map of the park.