National zoos are participating in a stunt that's left people wondering where all the penguins and tigers have gone.
Over 200 zoos across the country participated in the stunt, and no animals were harmed in the process. In fact, some of them may even benefit from it. According to the Next Digit, the disappearing act was aimed at raising awareness of conservation efforts to protect endangered species. In honor of Endangered Species Day, participating zoos blocked off access to some of their rarest animals, aiming to show guests just what the world would feel like if some of them were to go extinct.
The Dallas Zoo shrouded its African Penguin exhibit, and for the entire weekend zoo visitors won’t be able to get a glimpse unless they take a brief survey educating them on the dangers facing the flightless birds.
Ohio’s Akron Zoo covered up its precious Sumatran tigers with limited access, and announced that it will be using the Endangered Species Day event to kick off their own conservation program. SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) will raise awareness about the animals within the zoo, and teach visitors how they can help.
The Dallas Zoo launched a similar program this February called the Wild Earth Academy, which teaches visitors about the balance in nature and what they can do to make sure they protect endangered species.
Sometimes simple lifestyle changes, like which food you choose to buy, can make all the difference for an endangered species somewhere far away. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the Earth is currently losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the observed historical rate, which amounts to dozens of extinctions each day.
99 percent of currently threatened species are at risk as a direct result of human activity. Many of our industrial activities result in widespread habitat loss, and environments are changing faster than endangered species can keep up. Extinctions affect all types of species, ranging from amphibians to mammals to even plants.
Endangered Species Day celebrations will be happening at zoos nationwide all weekend, and is a fantastic way to get educated about the wildlife currently at risk.