Species of wildlife are facing global extinction on a massive scale, with about 21% of mammal species, about 12% of bird species and about 33% of all amphibian species under threat. So says Elizabeth Whealy, president and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo, who believes zoos are in a unique position to make a difference. Whealy addressed the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls Monday, Aug. 8, and discussed how the Great Plains Zoo is banding together with other zoos in an aggressive mission to save endangered species through conservation breeding, habitat preservation, community development, public education and research.
Program Highlights:
  • Elizabeth was born in Colton, SD and has been Director of the Zoo since 2005.
  • Since she took over, membership has tripled and attendance has doubled, with 316,000 visitors in 2015.  The Zoo has a $20-million-dollar impact on the Sioux Falls economy.
  • The Zoo's mission is:  education, conservation, recreation and discovery.
  • The Zoo currently has 1,000 animals and 160 species.
  • 90% of the world's Black Rhinos are gone (the Zoo has 2); by 2030 the big cats in the world could be extinct.  It is in the Zoo's master plan to bring back lions.
  • The Zoo teaches 40,000 kids a year about animals.
  • The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, breeds 24 endangered species and offers research.
Next Week’s Program:
Brian Roejeers, ED, McCrossan Boys Ranch--McCrossan Boys Ranch Today & Tomorrow
August 8, 2016 attendance:
  • Meeting attendance was 73 out of 314 or 23%
  • Paul Harris Fellows attendance was 43 out of 73 or 59%
  • Also present at the meeting were:  11 Guests; 2 Visiting Rotarians; 1 Roaming Rotarian