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 parternship with the International Elephant Foundation, we are doing our part by helping conserve several endangered species.
AFRICAN & ASIAN ELEPHANTS
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. Wilstem is proud to home one African elephant and two Asian elephants.
SCIMITAR HORNED ORYX
Also known as the Sahara oryx, it is a species of Oryx that was once widespread across North Africa. The species went extinct in the wild in 2000, but a group was released into an acclimation enclosure within the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve in 2016, then reintroduced back into the wild. Twenty-one additional animals were placed in the acclimation enclosure in 2017. A global captive breeding program has contributed to the genetic biodiversity of this species. Wilstem is proud to help maintain genetic biodiversity by housing two of these animals at our Wildlife Park.
photo courtesy Dubois County Herald
There are less than 100 Dama Gazelle's left in the wild in 4 dispersed and isolated populations in Chad and Niger. Populations have become threatened due to poaching and increased disturbances from vehicles. The Scimitar Horned Oryx reintroduction project has had a positive impact on the gazelle population due to the increased control of poaching.
Addax are the most threatened antelope in the world. Their populations have plummeted due to modern weapons and transport, civil unrest and oil exploration. Addax are heavily built and are not capable of great speed, they can easily be over taken by horses, dogs and vehicles. “Tin Toumma” in Niger was the last known spot where they were found.
RING TAIL LEMUR
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.