Global Conservation Efforts
For Sunset Zoo, partnering on conservation projects in the Americas and in India to inspire global wildlife conservation was a natural fit.
After all, since 1968 Kansas has worked with the Latin American country of Paraguay to promote people-to-people exchanges. Known as the Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP), this international volunteer organization is part of the Partners of the Americas program. Sunset Zoo has a rich history in Paraguay dating back to the early 1990s, led by the efforts of Dr. Bob Klemm, the Zoo’s inaugural Director of Conservation and Research. Beyond the Partners program, Sunset Zoo has an extensive area onsite dedicated to the animals of North, Central, and South America.
As with the Americas, Sunset Zoo's second most extensive area represented is Asia. In Asia, Wildlife SOS is an established conservation organization based in India with amazing successes. Their work on the conservation of sloth bears, which are part of Sunset Zoo's Expedition Asia Project, has been a vital part of driving Sunset Zoo's partnership with them.
Projects with Wildlife SOS
Indian Sloth Bear Denning Project
Sunset Zoo has provided funding in the past to support an on-going research project led by Wildlife SOS scientists to better understand the biology, denning patterns and reprroductive physiology of sloth bears in the wild. Wildlife SOS is partnering with a number of zoos in the United States accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The results from this project will be instrumental in developing future conservation efforts for sloth bears. Learn more about this project here.
Conservation Education Projects
The Education Staff at Sunset Zoo is working closely with other AZA accredited zoos to support conservation education initiatives of Wildlife SOS. The first project is to develop and implement conservation messaging for visitors to the Agra Bear Rescue Facility. Other projects we are working on with Wildlife SOS are education officer training, the development of curriculum for schools in Agra near the rescue facility, volunteer program management, an interpretive graphics plan, and more.
Projects in South America
Paraguay Conservation Action Partnership (CAP Paraguay)
CAP Paraguay is a special committee established through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) designed to coordinate conservation and scientific activities in specific geographic regions. Since its inception in 1994, the CAP has partnered with Paraguayan agencies to develop and maintain a National Wildlife Conservation Plan and to assist Paraguayan Zoos in meeting high standards of animal care. Dr. Klemm and Wichita’s Sedgwick County Zoo, particularly their Curator of Mammals Mike Quick, were instrumental in establishing the CAP. At the conclusion of our partnership with the Asuncion Zoo, we have transitioned all our conservation efforts in South America to the Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG). Learn more of their work by visiting their website.
Paraguayan Amphibian Crisis
One-third to one-half of global amphibian species are threatened or extinct, and hundreds of species face threats that will not be mitigated in the wild. Paraguay is no exception and, even more challenging, the country lacks a comprehensive assessment of wild amphibian species. This means species could go extinct without even knowing they’ve existed. In collaboration with several Kansas entities, Sunset Zoo sponsored an amphibian survey and monitoring program in Paraguay’s Central Chaco Region, a first step to addressing Paraguay’s Amphibian Crisis.
Asunción Zoo Partnership
From 1994 to 2012, Sunset Zoo held a Sister Zoo Agreement with the City of Asuncíon. With the support of the KPP, the Friends of Sunset Zoo and the Sedgwick County Zoological Society, Dr. Klemm and Mike Quick provided continuous consultation to the Sister Zoo. Over the years, the partnership successfully created a Zoo master plan, developed high standards of animal care and exhibition, and consulted on educational outreach programs.