One of Wilstem's main missions is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife! Wildlife conservation is the practice of protecting animal species and their habitats. It is achieved partially through legislation such as the Endangered Species Act, the establishment and protection of public lands, and responsible public practices that conserve wild animal populations. In addition to our partnership with the International Elephant Foundation, we are doing our part by helping conserve several endangered species.
The Asian elephant is classified as endangered with fewer than 50,000 left in the world! They are slightly smaller than the threatened African elephant which numbers about 400,000 – 500,000. The Asian elephant can be identified by their smaller ears, smoother skin, rounded back and only one finger-like tip at the end of their trunk.
Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals with adult height ranging from 14 to 19 feet tall. Just like human fingerprints, no two giraffes have the same coat pattern. Both male and female giraffes have horns already at birth. These ossicones lie flat and are not attached to the skull to avoid injury at birth. They only fuse with the skull later in life. Unfortunately these beautiful animals are now listed in critically endangered.
The ring-tailed lemur is a large strepsirrhine primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, black and white ringed tail. The ring-tailed lemur is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List due to habitat destruction and poaching. As of early 2017, the population in the wild is believed to have crashed as low as 2,000 individuals due to habitat loss, poaching and hunting, making them far more critically endangered. Wilstem has a breeding pair in hopes to contribute to the conservation of this species.
A species of Wallaby not commonly seen in the United States. Also known as the Sandy Wallaby. Wilstem is participating in a hand rearing program. This program will allow guests to interact with the joeys. Once joeys reach age they will be re-introduced to the mob. This practice allows animals to be acclimated with humans which will reduce stress levels when needing hands on care.
The common eland, also known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a savannah and plains antelope mostly found in East and Southern Africa. Common elands live on the open plains of southern Africa and along the foothills of the great southern African plateau. The species extends north into Ethiopia and most arid zones of South Sudan, west into eastern Angola and Namibia, and south to South Africa. However, there is a low density of elands in Africa due to poaching and human settlement. The Common Eland is considered vulnerable by the IUCN.
The Aoudad is considered vulnerable on the IUCN list. This species also known as the Barbary sheep has been introduced to southeastern Spain, the southwestern United States, the Trans-Pecos, and other parts of Texas and New Mexico, Hawaii, Mexico, and some parts of Africa. Its adaptability enabled it to colonise nearby areas quickly, and private game estates provided other centers of dispersion. The species is currently expanding. Wilstem is the home to a small herd of 10 to contribute to the genetic biodiversity of the species.
Though not uncommon in the wild, deforestation and other forms of habitat destruction remain threats for the sloth. The are considered a threatened species by the IUCN. Wilstem is proud to be the home of Luna, our two-toed sloth.
The binturong is a fierce, canopy-dwelling carnivore, with a prehensile tail, a sweet tooth for figs, and it smells like buttered popcorn. Binturongs are listed as vulnerable in some parts of their range and endangered in others. Nowhere are they common, though, and they are currently at risk due to habitat destruction, poaching for traditional Asian medicines, and the fur and pet trade.
Cotton Top Tamarins.
One of the smallest primates, the cotton-top tamarin is easily recognized by the long, white sagittal crest extending from its forehead to its shoulders. The species is found in tropical forest edges and secondary forests in northwestern Colombia, where it is arboreal and diurnal. With only a few thousand remaining, these tiny monkeys are Critically Endangered due to extensive deforestation, and capture for the illegal pet trade. Wilstem is proud to house a breeding pair.
Asian Small Clawed Otters.
The Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), also known as the oriental small-clawed otter and the small-clawed otter, is an otter species native to South and Southeast Asia. It has short claws that do not extend beyond the pads of its webbed digits. It is the smallest otter species in the world. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and is threatened by habitat loss, pollution, and in some areas also by hunting.
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