Zoos play an increasingly important role in conservation, raising awareness about the plight of many of the species on this planet and about energy and natural resource conservation, empowering the public to make small changes at home to become more environmentally friendly. Zoos are also important in raising funds for conservation, Since 2010, Safari West has raised $116,722.00 dollars for conservation in the United States and abroad. Finally, zoos are many children’s first encounter with wildlife, influencing future teachers, biologists and policy makers. Safari West’s conservation plan was written with these responsibilities in mind.
Safari West also sets a goal of supporting conservation efforts and raising awareness of wildlife issues by donating to various conservation organization where a member of a conservation organization presents their work to guests in the Elephant Room. For upcoming conservation talks, check our lecture schedule.
For a complete donation list, please click this link for a sample of conservation organizations Safari West has donated to.
Safari West’s Written Conservation Plan
Native Wildlife at Safari West
Safari West set a goal of improving habitat at Safari West for native wildlife. We have installed basking sites on Watusi Lake for western pond turtles, Clemmys marmorata. Nest boxes for wood ducks, Aix sponsa, American kestrel Falco sparverius, barn owl, Tyto alba, downy woodpecker Picoides pubescens, violet-green swallow Tachycineta thalassina, western bluebird, Sialia mexican, western screech owls Megascops kennicotti, and bats houses have since been constructed and installed. The Safari West Junior Keepers monitor nest boxes to determine if nest boxes are being used by our target species and not by invasive species. We have additionally initiated a program to eradicate non-native species of thistle with guidance from Pepperwood Preserve, our adjoining neighbor. The preserve is managed by the California Academy of Sciences and has a strong affiliation and working relationship with Santa Rosa Junior College.
Local Open Space Preservation
Safari West’s conservation plan includes helping Sonoma County reach its open space goals. Safari West proactively works toward conserving land, providing habitat for native wildlife, preserving the open space, natural, scenic, and agricultural values of the property, and protecting the oak woodland and chaparral for future generations. All 400 acres of Safari West are designated open space and an easement for the entire property has been given to the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space Preservation District. The easement protects all of Safari West, from development into perpetuity. Two-hundred and forty acres of Safari West are protected by an agricultural easement. This easement allows for safaris that provide conservation education to 70,000 visitors a year. The forever wild portion of the property is protected from development into perpetuity. Building is prohibited on this portion of Safari West land, ensuring that some of Sonoma County’s original ranch land remains intact and reverts to its original undisturbed state.
Safari West’s conservation plan is aimed at conservation education for all of our visitors. Tours at Safari West have a strong conservation message. Guides are knowledgeable about the conservation status of each species in the collection. Tours center around species with a listing of Vulnerable or higher and the threats to these species and efforts to conserve them are discussed. Guides are encouraged to keep abreast of conservation issues, sharing new information with staff by reporting to the Head Naturalist, who then informs all of the guides about new strides in conservation of animals and habitat here and abroad. Tours also educate and encourage the public to make changes to conserve energy and natural resources and to protect wildlife, by conserving water, recycling, reducing one’s carbon footprint, and supporting local and organic farming. Guides spend time with each and every guest discussing local conservation issues such as water conservation, local endangered species programs and open space preservation.
Conservation Local and Abroad
Safari West supports conservation efforts, local and abroad, protecting wildlife and ecosystems, and improving the lives of humans who live near threatened wildlife. This is accomplished in part by donating a portion of the money raised from the Behind the Scenes, Animal Presentations, Cheetah Photos, and Fast Cat Alley programs. Safari West also supports conservation efforts by hosting annual fundraisers for conservation organizations such as the Cheetah Conservation Fund.