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In collaboration with the WWF, Karlsruhe Zoo supports various species protection projects.

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In samenwerking met het WWF ondersteunt de dierentuin van Karlsruhe verschillende soortenbeschermingsprojecten.

Dr. Reinschmidt of the Species Protection Foundation in an interview

The Masai Mara Species Protection Project is one of the largest species protection projects in Karlsruhe. Zoo director Dr. In an interview, Matthias Reinschmidt talks about the application and delivery of the project, the Species Protection Euro and the seed works with the WWF.

What role do zoos play in international species conservation?

Modern zoos should always be centers for species conservation. Visitors can experience the animal species with ambassador animals. As a zoo, we try to raise awareness of the problems these animals face in nature – whether it’s habitat destruction, poaching or human-animal conflict. We also breed endangered species, creating backup populations in human hands. Animals from such zoo populations can also be released back into the wild if the habitat is still intact.

What role does species protection play in the animals’ habitat?

We always try to support outdoor projects that fit our habitats at the zoo. We do this with the financial resources of the Karlsruhe Zoo Species Protection Foundation. For example, we support elephants in Sri Lanka, orangutans in Borneo and orange-crested cockatoos in Indonesia. We are also trying to preserve and reforest cloud forests with a biodiversity project in Ecuador. We support WWF’s Maasai Mara project in Kenya for large animal migrations.

What exactly does the collaboration with WWF look like?

The Serengeti is known for the impressive animal migrations in Africa. However, these routes do not pass through the well-known national park, but also pass through the neighboring Masai Mara. However, the Kenyan state is implementing land reform there; the vast areas are divided into small pieces and given to the rural population. To prevent fences and allow the animals to travel, large areas of land are rented from the population. Animals and people benefit from it. However, for this we need an important partner: the WWF. However, the highlight from our point of view is that 100 percent of our money from the Karlsruhe Zoo Species Protection Foundation goes directly to the project and is not used for administrative or marketing measures.

Since when has the protection of species played such a dominant role for you?

Protecting species becomes more important every year as it becomes increasingly clear that we are in the midst of the sixth major extinction event in Earth’s history and that humans are responsible. At the same time, we humans can also limit species extinction and save at least some species. We as a zoo community are faced with this responsibility.

Are there any animal species that would become extinct today if they were not kept in zoos or animal parks?

There are many species that would have gone extinct without human care. Some currently only survive in zoos or similar facilities because, for example, their habitat has been destroyed, while others have already been released back into the wild through successful breeding programs. We at the Karlsruhe Zoo have already successfully participated in the reintroduction of Przewalski’s horses, bison and sable antelopes with animals from our breeding farm. That gives us courage for the future.

What makes a good zoo in the 21st century?

As a modern zoo, we must maintain the balance between a leisure place for people, a scientific institution, an extra-curricular learning location for all levels of education and our role as a species conservation centre. However, the welfare of the animals we keep comes first. We will never be able to imitate the natural environment, but we should always strive to provide animal-friendly housing that meets the needs of the animals as much as possible.

Do you have a favorite animal?

For me it is not about one animal, but about a whole group of different species: the parrots. As a child I discovered my passion for these animals and I have retained it to this day. Thanks to my years of work in the largest parrot farm in the world on Tenerife and my knowledge of the animals, my love for this group of animals has continued to grow. Although I like all animals, parrots are always something very special to me.

The Karlsruhe Zoo Species Protection Foundation has a species protection project

Visit the Karlsruhe Species Protection website (link is external) and find out more!

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