Target: Steve Monfort, Director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Goal: Commend Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute for breeding and caring for endangered animals
The Smithsonian Conservatory is taking steps to prevent some of the world’s most precious animal species from going extinct. One-fifth of the 400 species held at the conservatory are on the endangered list, but the staff are doing their best to change that.
Clouded leopards were originally found in Indonesia, but today, you can find them in northern Virgina. Two cubs, a boy and girl, are currently being raised at the conservatory, which had already raised and released at least 80 other young leopards back into the wild or shared with other conservatories.
Clouded leopards are often hunted for their furs, but it is not just the poachers who drove their species to near extinction. Loss of habitat also plays a heavy factor when it comes to the devastation of most animal species. More than that, clouded leopards are not the only endangered creatures being bred and cultivated. The black-footed ferret was thought to be almost entirely extinguished before a range dog found eighteen in Wyoming. The conservatory has had the black-footed ferret for twenty-five years, has bred over 8,000 of them, and it hopes to eventually have them downgraded on the endangered species list, and then have them taken off completely.
The animals are kept in large, open spaces, giving them more than enough room to grow and play. In fact, most of the spaces are over 3,000 acres. Of course, the black-footed ferret and the clouded leopard are not the only animals being helped at the conservatory. If one should go there, she would also find cheetahs, Chinese red pandas, Micronesian kingfishers, hooded cranes, and over 2,000 other animals, with 400 species being endangered.
The staff at Smithsonian Conservatory are doing a great job and they deserve to be commended for all the good they have done.
Dear Director Steve Monfort,
Thank you for the the work you and your staff have put into breeding and caring for endangered animals. With so much talk of poachers and deforestation, it’s good to know that there are people doing their best to better their environment.
The clouded leopard and the black-footed ferret were nearly killed off entirely, but your efforts for them and for the 400 other animal species you continue to raise may be the greatest contributing factor in their continued survival. Unfortunately, not every animal has been saved, but those animals you do save will live to see and amaze the next generation. For that, and much else, I am grateful.
Bringing endangered animals back from the brink of extinction, and then releasing them onto protected reserves is both great and admirable. Your example should be emulated across the world.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: nationalzoo via Flickr