DONATE NOW. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
I did not come to work at the zoo over 40 years ago to work for an attraction. In fact, I do not support ever taking animals out of the wild unless it is the last effort to save that animal’s life or a species 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. It is important however to know the difference between an accredited zoological park and a roadside attraction that is posing as a zoo and is simply exploiting the animals under its care.
Having said that, I believe that for any accredited zoo to truly be a conservation institution, it MUST provide significant funding to protect the animals that it chooses to display, in the wild where they belong. For a zoo to spend millions of dollars on an exhibit without appropriating significant dollars towards the conservation of those species in the wild that will be displayed in that exhibit, is unacceptable.
This is what drove me to establish the “Ron Magill Conservation Endowment” back in 2015. By creating the endowment, I was able to establish 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 and scholarships to those working in field conservation, 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 long after all of us are gone.
Creating this endowment validates me being at the zoo and gives me a purpose that inspires me more than words can say. Quite honestly, were it not for this endowment, I most likely would have left the zoo years ago because 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.
The Ron Magill Conservation Endowment is under the umbrella of the Zoo Miami Foundation, a 501c3 charitable organization with all donations being fully tax-deductible.