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Our Work

Ending Extinction

Conservation happens one person—and sometimes one animal—at a time. By working with communities that live alongside wildlife, investing in science and technology for conservation initiatives, and partnering with you, it’s possible to end extinction.



A researcher with a koala in Australia; a baby panda born at the San Diego Zoo; a baby southern white rhino born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park



Conservation-Focused from the Beginning

The San Diego Zoo began as a rescue operation.

In 1916, Dr. Harry Wegeforth was driving down Park Boulevard when he heard the roar of a lonely lion. Along with bears, monkeys, and other animals, the lion had been part of an exhibit at the Panama-California Exposition earlier that year. But when the exposition closed, the animals were left behind with a few caretakers, and an uncertain future.

Dr. Harry was inspired to rescue those abandoned animals and give them a home where they could be properly cared for. Soon after hearing that fateful roar, he founded the San Diego Zoo.

Since then, we've carried on Dr. Harry's can-do outlook and commitment to protecting wildlife.

Conservation. It means the world to us.™



Young giraffes



Your Dollars Make a Difference

The Zoological Society of San Diego (doing business as San Diego Zoo Global) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.

San Diego Zoo Global protects more than 100 species of endangered animals and plants around the world. Working in dozens of countries, we inspire individuals, engage communities, and apply more than a century of world-class animal care expertise to save wildlife from extinction.

When you donate to the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, you directly support these efforts.

Charity Navigator is the United States’ best charity watchdog organization and it has given San Diego Zoo Global its highest rating of 4 Stars/Exceptional. Only 10 percent of accredited zoos and aquariums achieve this standard.

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