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San Diego Zoo, Audubon partnering to save endangered animals

January 14, 2013 | 10:01 pm

Scimitar-horned oryx. Credit: San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Global and the Audubon Nature Institute are set to announce Tuesday a unique partnership to save animal populations facing extinction by establishing a breeding center on a 1,000-acre piece of property near New Orleans.

To be called the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife, the project will include enclosures for a variety of endangered and threatened species, including whooping cranes, okapis, bongos (a type of antelope), Masai giraffes, oryx and rare antelopes.

Douglas G. Myers, president of San Diego Zoo Global, said he hopes the arrangement "will be a model for collaborative efforts in the future."

Audubon Nature Institute President and Chief Executive Ron Forman said the project will allow for the establishment of a "one-of-a-kind resource for zoos and aquariums to rebuild animal collections that are in danger of disappearing."

Bringing together two of the world's best-known conservation organizations, Forman said, will allow the two to "put to work our shared expertise in assisted reproduction techniques and behavioral sciences."

The Audubon Nature Institute runs several museums and parks in the New Orleans area. The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy manages field programs in 35 countries, as well as an 800-acre biodiversity reserve at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Construction at the site is expected to begin this fall and the breeding program the next year.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Scimitar-horned oryx. Credit: San Diego Zoo

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