As Reverse the Red prepares for the first World Species Congress, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is raising awareness for this global conservation effort while celebrating a number of conservation wins.

Reverse the Red brings together a diverse coalition of scientists, advocates, and partners using data-driven and science-based approaches to conserve endangered species and ecosystems around the world. The World Species Congress is a 24-hour fully virtual gathering on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 to highlight the status of endangered species and chart the future course of conservation.

“It is time to showcase our achievements and strategically plan what needs to be done to drive real, measurable impact for species forward,” said Michael Clifford, Reserve the Red Strategy Director. “Reverse the Red is excited to convene this event because we are committed to catalyzing strategy, efforts, and collaboration to reverse species declines and restore thriving populations. This is what the World Species Congress is all about. With a vast network of government, species impact, and storytelling partners, we can shift the trajectory for species survival.”

There is a worldwide biodiversity crisis threatening the extinction of more than a million species, fueled by habitat loss from deforestation, introduction of invasive species, climate change, and pollution. As a conservation organization, the OKC Zoo leads and supports worldwide conservation efforts that address the crisis.

“As an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission partner, the Zoo leads the way with conservation work at home and abroad,” said Rebecca Snyder, the Zoo’s Senior Director of Conservation, Education, and Science. “In addition to funding projects, the Zoo also sends expert personnel around the globe to take direct action.”

The OKC Zoo’s conservation initiatives include partnerships with and funding for:

  • FUNDESGUA, the Foundation for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Guatemala, which uses science-based strategies embedded in local culture to reverse the decline in Guatemalan beaded lizard and Campbell’s alligator lizard populations by restoring old-growth forests with assistance from local communities.
  • The Sri Lanka Elephant Project, SLEP, which focuses on studying and protecting Asian elephants at risk due to habitat loss and human-elephant conflict. Zoo staff lead this program and provide funding and training to Sri Lankan research assistants who are collecting data year-round to address the multi-faceted issues facing Asian elephants.
  • KPCRC, Kaludiyapokuna Primate Conservation and Research Center, also in Sri Lanka, focuses on critically endangered purple-faced langurs, which are endemic to the country. KPCRC assists with conservation of primates and other threatened wildlife in Sri Lanka by conducting empirical research, engaging in wildlife conservation policy development, and training future generations of conservation professionals through research assistantships, volunteer positions, and carrying out conservation outreach programs.
  • Local conservation efforts include headstart programs for Texas horned lizards, alligator snapping turtles, and rare milkweed species. Zoo facilities are used to raise and protect the animals and plants through vulnerable life stages until they can be reintroduced or transplanted back into the wild. The Zoo’s botanical gardens also provide habitat for native pollinators which provide critical ecosystem services throughout Oklahoma and the region. Learn more about these projects at OKC Zoo blogs.

Funding for the Zoo’s conservation initiatives is provided in part by Round Up for Conservation, a program created to help wildlife and wild places when Zoo guests round up their purchases to the next dollar.

The OKC Zoo cares for 1,000 individual animals, 328 species and actively participants in select breeding, Species Survival Plans®, and Saving Animals From Extinction: SAFE programs through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that aim to help protect and ensure sustainable populations of threatened animals in human care.

Wildlife fans from around the world are invited to participate in World Species Congress and join others in taking action towards species conservation. To register for Reverse the Red’s World Species Congress virtual gathering and view the complete agenda, visit

The Oklahoma City Zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at and avoid the entry lines. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, and Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Zoo admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Membership has its perks! As a ZOOfriends member of the Oklahoma City Zoo, enjoy free admission all year-long, plus many additional benefits and discounts. You will also be supporting the Zoo’s animal family, education programming and conservation initiatives both locally and globally. Join or renew today at

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