Final Recipients of 2015 Animal Care & Conservation Awards Announced

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is pleased to announce this year’s final list of recipients of its annual animal care & conservation awards. Over the past two decades, Wildlife World has contributed tens of thousands of dollars, as well as thousands more as in-kind support and staff expertise to dozens of local, national and international organizations working on habitat restoration and wildlife conservation all over the globe. These financial awards of $1,000 – 2,000 each were created to recognize worthy efforts in field conservation, public display and education and basic research designed to preserve our planet and inspire future generations to care about wildlife and wild places.

sea lion
Crockett the sea lion

Some of the awards will assist efforts to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals such as the record numbers of sea lions that have stranded over the past few years along the California coastline. In response to even higher levels of strandings since early January, Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park has elected to double the award amount for The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) ( in Sausalito, Calif. The MMC is one of the largest marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation and return organizations authorized by the federal government to respond to stranding crises like the one unfolding this year.

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums ( and the Zoological Association of America (

Other recipients include:

The Cheetah Conservation Fund. (
Zoological Association of America Wildlife Conservation Fund (
Award designated to be shared by Zambian Carnivore Programme, ( and Niassa Lion Project. (
The International Crane Foundation. (
Zoo Conservation Outreach Group. (
Gibbon Conservation Center. (
International Rhino Foundation. (
Sahara Conservation Fund. (
The Association of Zoo & Aquarium’s Conservation Endowment Fund. (

Historically, award winners have had a significant connection to species and ecosystems that are integral to our vast collection such as rhinoceros, cranes, gibbons and African antelope. As Wildlife World continues to grow and unveil additional species, like Arizona’s only sea lions, the conservation focus of future recipients will also expand.

White rhino at Wildlife World Zoo

As a USDA licensed, private institution, Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park receives zero taxpayer funding. No tax dollars have ever been spent to build or operate Wildlife World. We are extremely grateful for the three decades of support from the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Wildlife World each year. Our guests have made our growth and these animal care and conservation awards possible.

Award Recipient descriptions provided by each organization’s website:

Cheetah Conservation Fund (

Its mission is to be the internationally recognized centre of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people.

Zambia Carnivore Programme (

The Zambian Carnivore Project is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to conserving large carnivores (lions, leopards, cheetah, African wild dogs, hyena), their prey and the ecosystems they reside in. We are 100% field based, working out of three basic research camps across the country.

Niassa Lion Project (

Our mission is to conserve lions and other large carnivores (leopard, spotted hyena and African wild dog) in the vast Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique in collaboration with the Mozambican Government and local communities. Our long-term vision is a unique protected area where lions and other carnivores continue to thrive with the full participation and support of Niassa’s people.

The International Crane Foundation ( commits to a future where all crane species are secure – a future where people cooperate to protect and restore wild populations and their ecosystems. These efforts sustain the places where cranes live, to the benefit of countless other species.

The Zoo Conservation Outreach Group. ( Founded in 1988, Zoo Conservation Outreach Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition of zoos, aquariums, and related partners dedicated to promoting wildlife and habitat conservation throughout the Americas. The group accomplishes its core mission by developing conservation leadership capacity in Latin American zoological institutions and providing direct technical, material, and financial support to collaborative, zoo and aquarium-based conservation programs.

The Gibbon Conservation Center ( was founded in 1976 in southern California, USA, by the late Alan Richard Mootnick. It is the only facility in the world devoted exclusively to gibbons, an increasingly rare ape. We work for the endangered gibbons’ benefit through conservation, propagation and study, and by teaching people about them. GCC houses nearly 40 gibbons, among them 5 of the 19 living species.

The International Rhino Foundation ( is dedicated to the survival of the world’s rhino species through conservation and research. The IRF provides the technical (scientific, educational, administrative) and financial resources necessary to facilitate the conservation of rhinos.

Sahara Conservation Fund ( is a dynamic organization with a unique mission: the conservation of the wildlife of the Sahara and its bordering Sahelian grasslands. Our vision is of a Sahara that is well conserved and where ecological processes function naturally, with plants and animals existing in healthy numbers across their historical range; a Sahara that benefits all its inhabitants and where support for its conservation comes from stakeholders across all sectors of society.

The AZA Conservation Endowment Fund ( established in 1984, supports the cooperative conservation-related scientific and educational initiatives of AZA and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and their collaborators. Since 1991, the CEF has provided more than $5 million to over 300 projects worldwide.

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ. We’re open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays. Zoo exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5:00 p.m.) Aquarium exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Daytime admission includes access to the zoo and aquarium. Special reduced evening admission to Aquarium-only is available after 5:00 p.m.

For more info: (623) 935-WILD (9453) or visit

Endangered penguin chicks and other baby animals now on display

Nothing says summer like endangered penguin chicks and other baby animals at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park

It has been more than a decade since Arizona’s only penguins successfully reared a chick. Currently, a young adult pair is raising not one but two! The aquarium at Wildlife World has been home to endangered black-footed penguins for many years; however, until recently most of the one dozen adults on display were too young and inexperienced for parenthood. All that has changed with the hatching of two chicks a few weeks ago. Like many other species of birds, penguins usually stagger the laying of (two) eggs over several days to better ensure at least one chick survives.

Thus far, both chicks, about a week apart in age and noticeably different in size, are being well cared for and fed by both parents. To mbaby penguinonitor their progress, several times a week, aquarists weigh and examine the chicks to ensure both are growing and getting enough nutrition. Black-footed penguins are found on the south and south western coasts of Africa. They are also referred to as African or jackass penguins due to their unique call that sounds similar to a donkey bray.

“To have these inexperienced parents properly for both chicks is very exciting for our aquarium team and it bodes well for the future of penguins here in the desert,” comments Jeff Beals, aquarium curator. In the wild, if the oldest chick thrives, the younger chick often does not, given its size disadvantage at feeding time. The biggest threats to wild penguin populations are declining food supplies, predation from land animals, pollution such as from oil spills, and coastal habitat destruction affecting their nest sites.

Penguins are not the only new arrivals to Wildlife World. A baby striped hyena is on display at the baby animal nursery.  Striped hyenas are quite different from the spotted hyena species already on display at the Wildlife World Safari Park. Striped hyenas arstriped hyena, baby, feedinge smaller and tend to live in small groups with just their mate. Their species was once widely found throughout northern Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Like other species of hyena, the striped hyena has been feared and severely hunted leaving only isolated populations across their former range.

Other baby animals include warthogs, gazelles, monkeys and many others throughout the 80-acre grounds.

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is at the corner of Northern and Sarival avenues, ½ mile east of State Route 303. As an USDA licensed, private institution, accredited by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA), Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium receives zero taxpayer funding. No tax dollars have ever been spent to build or operate Wildlife World.  A new 15-acre expansion is set to open late this year featuring several rides such as a family roller coaster, zip line, 100-foot tall swing, and several new species from north and south America such as bears, mountain lions, bison and more.

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ. We’re open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays. Zoo exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5:00 p.m.). Aquarium exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Daytime admission includes access to the zoo and aquarium. Special reduced evening admission to Aquarium-Only is available after 5:00 p.m.