As we assess the world around us, it’s obvious that humans depend on nature to survive. Yet in a role that has increasingly become more parasitic than symbiotic, humans are stripping the world of natural resources and beautiful animals at an increasingly faster rate than before. Just this past March, the world’s last male white rhino died, drawing the subspecies that much closer to extinction. This occurred in large part to hunting and poaching that so aggressively ravishes through wildlife. The male white rhino is just one example of how our careless relationship with nature is causing a detrimental chain reaction in the world around us.
Understanding the need for preservation of wildlife, the Smithsonian Institute has emerged to the forefront as one of the leaders in wildlife conservation. Researcher and former member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Ethics Board, Dr. Robert Davis, believes it’s important that these types of programs are highlighted. Dr. Robert Davis of Dubuque, Iowa is huge proponent of wildlife conservation. In fact, Dr. Bert Davis was the first African American to receive a Faculty Fellowship from the Smithsonian. Within this capacity, he pioneered the educational outreach program that brought zoological science education into the classroom.
Dr. Bert Davis’ history with the Smithsonian isn’t the only reason he believes so strongly in their role in conservation. Time and time again, the Smithsonian Institute’s conservation program has consistently held a high ranking for their work and education. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is the specific sector of the Smithsonian that deals with wildlife conservation. Through here, they play a leading role in the Institute’s global efforts to conserve wildlife, help struggling species to survive, and educate future generations of conservationists.
Founded in 1974, The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has more than 20 species of animals that they breed and study, including species that were once extinct. Dr. Bert Davis notes that the Smithsonian’s major research initiatives are broken into five main areas of focus centers:
- Conservation Ecology
- Conservation and Sustainability
- Conservation Genomics
- Migratory Birds
- Species Survival
Additionally, their role spans 250 scientists, students, and colleagues in over 25 countries, working on both land and ocean. Their work has helped bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction, contribute to the preservation of genetic diversity, and much more.
The Smithsonian Institute has achieved so much in the way of conservation. Dr. Bert Davis believes strongly in the work that they have done and is excited to see how they continue their conservation efforts in the future.