Zoological Society of San Diego

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San Diego Zoo Global is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in San Diego that operates the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. Founded in 1916 as the Zoological Society of San Diego under the leadership of Harry M. Wegeforth, the organization claims the largest zoological society membership in the world, with more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships, representing more than half a million people. The organizations mission is to save vulnerable species through animal care based in conservation science. In its first few decades, the Zoological Society of San Diego worked to establish and build up the San Diego Zoo. Members of the organization formed groups that later became the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and American Association of Zoo Keepers. In the early 1970s the Society established the San Diego Wild Animal Park in the San Pasqual Valley and the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), and expanded its captive breeding and wildlife conservation efforts. The organization changed its name to San Diego Zoo Global in 2010 as part of a rebranding that also saw the Wild Animal Park renamed the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and CRES renamed the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. The organization is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is funded by a combination of grants, donations, membership revenues, revenues from the Zoo and Safari Park, and property taxes collected by the City of San Diego. Its lands, facilities, and animals are legally owned by the city, but are exclusively managed and maintained by San Diego Zoo Global. The organization and its institutions are accredited by the AZA and the American Alliance of Museums, and have received many awards for their exhibits, captive breeding programs, and wildlife conservation efforts.
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