The Calgary Zoo is teaming up with one of Alberta’s most beloved conservationists to support the urgent effort to save endangered animals in Canada and around the world.
The zoo has announced the creation of the Brian Keating Conservation Endowment, to honour Keating’s nearly 30 years of service to the Calgary Zoo and his efforts to protect wildlife.
“Brian’s contribution to worldwide conservation efforts is incalculable and we are so fortunate to have such a formidable wildlife advocate within our zoo family,’ says Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO, Calgary Zoo.
“By establishing the Brian Keating Conservation Endowment, we are creating a long-term guaranteed funding source to help more endangered species around the world. Zoos play a key role in conservation through their crucial work in conservation breeding and reintroduction programs, research, education, advocacy campaigns and fundraising and this endowment will allow us to have an even greater far-reaching impact.”
This $1 million endowment will support key conservation projects led by the zoo, and is as a result of donations as well as a variety of sources that Keating was directly involved with during his time at the Calgary Zoo. In addition to the $1 million that has been set aside, the zoo is also establishing a $1 million matching fund, to match dollar for dollar every donation to the endowment.
“Current estimates suggest that we are losing three species a day and that we are in the midst of another mass extinction,” says Brian Keating. “The Calgary Zoo is uniquely positioned to have an impact on numbers like this for wildlife conservation here in Canada and around the world. I am humbled to have my name attached to a cause that I am so passionate about and I know that the zoo will be able to make a difference with this endowment.”
Keating retired in 2011 after nearly 30 years with the Calgary Zoo and now acts as its Honourary Conservation Advisor. He is an adjunct assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Calgary, an international public speaker, a nature-based travel group leader for destinations around the world, and a weekly guest on CBC Radio in Calgary. He has written five award-winning children’s books and was a regular on the Discovery Channel as a wildlife adventurer for many years. He continues to chronicle his international wildlife adventures on GoingWild.org.
Keating was the first person to hold the position of Head of Conservation Outreach at the zoo and raised significant funds for conservation projects that have helped establish the Calgary Zoo as one of the leading conservation research zoos in the world.
In 2017, the zoo will invest $3.6 million in conservation programs focusing on conservation breeding programs and community conservation. Currently, the zoo is involved in the reintroduction science and breeding of eight at-risk North American species.
The ultimate goal is to each year release more animals back into the wild than the zoo currently cares for. The zoo’s award-winning conservation program is leading projects to save the Vancouver Island marmot, black-tailed prairie dog, burrowing owl, Northern leopard frog, whooping crane, swift fox, black-footed ferret and greater sage-grouse. In addition, the zoo is heavily involved with community conservation projects to save sitatunga and hippos in Ghana and lemurs in Madagascar.
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