Scimitar-horned Oryx

The REC Department


Research, Education, and Conservation

The Safari West Research, Education, and Conservation Department (fondly referred to as REC) has a unique task here on property. Namely to focus resources on ongoing research and educational opportunities while simultaneously handling a variety of conservation projects and missions. The REC Departments responsibilities are split between three distinct disciplines that are nonetheless closely intertwined with one another.

The research efforts undertaken by the REC Department directly inform the activities of our educational branch and both are invaluable in determining and implementing our varied conservation aims.


The Research wing of the REC Department has a broad and ever-evolving scope. One of our recent undertakings involves the monitoring and study of local wildlife within the confines of the Safari West Wildlife Preserve. Another is closely tied to our developing relationship with the Ethiopian National Museum and an ongoing archeological project underway in Ethiopia known as the Kesem-Kebena and Dulecha Project. Perhaps our largest research initiative, however, comes in the form of the Safari West Osteology Lab. This on-site research operation focuses on the skeletal systematics of species represented within our own collection.

Whether we’re at work here at home or abroad, the REC department’s research wing is on the forefront of biological and ecological discovery.


The point of all this research is, of course, to aid in the ongoing process of discovery. It is the role of the Education wing of the REC Department to then incorporate this information into the curricula of the safari guide department. This ongoing work involves interpreting our own data, that from other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities, and of course studies conducted by the many conservation researchers and organizations working in the field.

Since the science of wildlife biology and conservation is ever developing, we work hard to ensure that our information follows suit. When you visit Safari West, you can rest assured that the information being presented is heavily researched and peer-reviewed.


All of this leads to the Conservation wing of the REC Department. Our primary goal at Safari West is the inspiring and nurturing of conservation advocates. In an era of turbulent change and ever-increasing environmental degradation, it is more important than ever to work toward sustainable practices and conservation action. All Safari West activities, from the classic safari tours to the school field trip treks, are designed and implemented around a conservation message.

We don’t just talk the talk here at Safari West, we walk the walk as well. Each and every year we allocate a large sum of our income to conservation causes. Many of the conservation partners we fund present here as part of our Conservation Speaker Series.


The REC Department