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I did not come to work at the zoo more than 40 years ago to work for an attraction. In fact, I do not support ever taking animals out of the wild unless it is a final effort to save that individual’s life, or the species it represents, from extinction. I wish we lived in a perfect world where there would be no need for zoos because everyone would be able to see animals in the wild where they belong. Unfortunately, that is not the case and there is less and less wild for animals to live in.
Good accredited zoos provide invaluable windows to the world of wildlife that help plant a seed in those who can look at live animals eye to eye and hopefully develop a connection to those animals that inspire a respect and desire to protect them. I say that from experience because as a small boy growing up in New York City, it was visits to the Bronx Zoo that helped instill in me a passion for wildlife that has brought me to where I am today.
Having said that, I believe that for any zoo to truly be a conservation institution, it MUST provide significant funding to protect the animals that it chooses to display, in the wild. This is what drove me to establish the “Ron Magill Conservation Endowment” back in 2015.
By creating the endowment, I was able to create a source of sustainable funding that could only be used to protect animals in the wild, not in the zoo. Over the years we have been able to provide tens of thousands of dollars annually to conservation projects around the world. The real beauty of the endowment is that because of the way that it is structured, it will continue to provide conservation funding in perpetuity.
Creating and managing this endowment inspires me more than words can say and is what I am most proud of in my career. My passion is not keeping wild animals under human care, it is helping to ensure that wild animals can always live in the wild. The fact is that if zoos are the last place for animals to safely survive, then zoos as institutions will have been epic failures. I hope that you can help me to make sure that that is not going to be the case.
By contributing to the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment, your tax-deductible donation will help to ensure that wild animals will continue to be able to live in the wild for generations to come.