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Indianapolis Zoo Celebrates Endangered Species Day on Friday

The Indianapolis Zoo hosted a special program with local and global conservation leaders, including Dr. Charles Foley, Director of the Tarangire Elephant Project in Tanzania.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett proclaimed Friday as Endangered Species Day in the the city of Indianapolis. 

To recognize this day, the Indianapolis Zoo hosted a special program with both local and global conservation leaders, including Dr. Charles Foley, Director of the Tarangire Elephant Project in Tanzania.

"It's really an important event that the mayor has taken the time and the energy to put a focus on Endangered Species Day and recognize it with this official proclamation from his office," said Rob Shumaker, Director of the Indianapolis Zoo. "The thing that is so important about this, is it brings the attention of our city, and even beyond our city, to Endangered Species Day."

Shumaker said the day is all about promoting conservation, teaching people to be more conservation-minded, and making them much better informed about endangered species in the United States and around the world.

Twelve years ago, the United States Congress declared the first observance of Endangered Species Day, an opportunity to the wildlife and wild places that need our help most and highlight success stories in species recovery. 

Today, there are more endangered species in existence than ever before.

"We're facing a conservation crisis in terms of the number of endangered species," said Shumaker. "Many folks are calling this the sixth great extinction of our planet and it's very genuine. It's undeniable that we're facing a level of threat for a number of species that is really deserving of our attention because it is quite alarming."

The Indianapolis Zoo is home to several endangered species, including the African elephant. African elephants face incredible threats from the illegal ivory trade.

Another endangered species at the Zoo is the orangutan.

"Others that people might think about are Orangutans from southeast Asia. They're threatened primarily by loss of habitat for palm oil and plantations that are not sustainable," Shumaker added.

Endangered species don't just live at the Zoo. One endangered species could be flying past you right now.

"There is something very important that I think people can do and that's to focus on the endangered species that are here locally. The ones that people can see every day is the pollinators."

Pollinators like Monarch butterflies and honey bees help plants make fruit and seeds by moving pollen from plant to plant.

Shumaker says they're important for the economy of the Hoosier state and for people around the world. We rely on pollinators to propagate most of the food in the United States, and bees are essential to anyone who is a gardener or who is interested in the beautification of Indianapolis or any other city.

For more information, visit indianapoliszoo.com. 

(Photo: Indianapolis Zoo)

@WIBCMaryFarucci

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