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Today's Family Magazine

Symbolic adoption benefits animals in zoo and the wild

Jul 17, 2017 04:02PM ● By Today's Family

This summer’s featured Adopt an Animal is the black rhinoceros, a nod to the zoo’s black rhino, Kibibbi (pictured), who is expecting a calf in 2018. Black rhinos are critically endangered in the wild, and their population has declined an estimated 98% since 1960. For adoption levels and to donate, visit

Submitted by Cleveland Zoological Society

Did you know red pandas have a “thumb” that helps them climb and grasp bamboo?  Do you know why black rhinoceros are critically endangered in the wild?

Discover the answers - and learn much more about the animals at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo - by becoming an Adopt an Animal ZooParent.

Adopt an Animal is a long-standing program managed by the Cleveland Zoological Society, the nonprofit partner and advocate of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  The Zoo Society works to raise awareness of and philanthropic support for the zoo and its programming.  Adopt an Animal is one way private donations are helping make Cleveland Metroparks Zoo one of the top in the nation.

For more than 25 years, people in the Cleveland area and beyond have been donating to symbolically adopt an animal.  Individuals, companies and small groups - Boy Scout troops, school classrooms, even yoga classes! - have donated.  The money raised supports the world-class animal care at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and enhances the zoo’s international conservation programming.  The zoo works with partners in more than two dozen countries around the globe to secure a future for several iconic species including giraffe, gorilla and tigers.

A 2016 survey of ZooParents indicated that overwhelmingly, people are participating to support the zoo.  More than 90% of survey participants said they will renew their adoption the following year because they “care about zoo animals and conservation.”

“In recent months, many of our loyal supporters have shared their top priorities for the zoo. These include strengthening our collective role in wildlife conservation and ensuring the Zoo provides great homes for all of the animals in our care – and we agree,” said Zoo Society executive director Elizabeth Fowler.

“In response to this survey, the Zoo Society has revamped Adopt an Animal for 2017, with a more streamlined list of animals, a digital-only adoption package and a greater focus on animals of conservation concern,” said Fowler.

Newly written and designed animal fact sheets will add news about the zoo’s conservation partners around the globe.  Personalized certificates and a variety of benefits depending on the level of donation help connect ZooParents to wildlife at the zoo.  Featured animals will continue to change each season and include a plush.

“Some of the program’s most popular animals like the elephant and tiger will remain, but we’re also adding animals with important conservation stories like the trumpeter swan, which was all but extinct from Ohio in the 1970s before the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and other organizations worked on an extensive reintroduction program to sustain the species in the wild,” said Zoo Society annual fund manager Ashley Walker.

Also new in 2017 is a digital-only package that makes wonderful gifts for the little ones in your life.  Recipients get an email from the gift giver with PDF fact sheets and certificates to download and print at home.

For details and to adopt an animal, please visit

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