Conservation news

Audio: Bronx Zoo director says zoos are more relevant to conservation than ever

  • On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast we speak with Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo in New York City, about the contributions zoos make to the cause of global biodiversity conservation.
  • Breheny is well aware that a large contingent of the population questions the relevance of zoos in the 21st century. But he says that, as mankind’s influence extends ever farther and habitat for wildlife continues to shrink, zoos are more relevant than ever, as they preserve for the future the diversity of species who share the planet with us today.
  • On today’s episode of the Newscast, Breheny tells us about the evolution of zoos and aquariums that he’s witnessed over his 40-plus-year career; how zoos not only preserve species for the future but support field work to protect species in the wild, as well; and about his experience attempting to tell the story of zoos through the Animal Planet TV show ‘The Zoo.’

On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast we speak with Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo in New York City, about the contributions zoos make to the cause of global biodiversity conservation.

Listen here:

 

The Bronx Zoo is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). As executive vice president of zoos and aquariums for WCS, Jim Breheny actually manages all five of WCS’s zoological parks in New York City, including the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, the Queens Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium on Coney Island. All told, these parks are visited by more than 4 million guests every year.

In all the years I’ve lived in New York City, I’ve never visited one of those WCS zoos, however. I had an experience at another zoo many years ago that involved watching a wolverine mindlessly, frantically running in circles around its enclosure for hours, which turned me off of zoos and keeping animals in captivity altogether.

Breheny is well aware that a large contingent of the population questions the relevance of zoos in the 21st century. But he says that, as humanity’s influence extends ever farther and habitat for wildlife continues to shrink, zoos are more relevant than ever, as they preserve for the future the diversity of species who share the planet with us today.

There’s possibly no one better suited to tell the story of zoos’ important role in conservation in the 21st century than Jim Breheny. His whole career has been dedicated to zoos — he started working at the Bronx Zoo when he was just 14.

On today’s episode of the Newscast, Breheny tells us about the evolution of zoos and aquariums that he’s witnessed over his 40-plus-year career; how zoos not only preserve species for the future but support field work to protect species in the wild, as well; and about his experience attempting to tell the story of zoos through the Animal Planet TV show ‘The Zoo.’

Here’s this episode’s top news:

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Lion cubs Nala, Shani, and Adamma with their father, M’wasi, at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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