Louisiana is known for a lot of things: the historic French Quarter in New Orleans, a diverse culinary heritage, and as the birthplace of American jazz. Antelopes, whooping cranes, and okapi? Not so much.
But creating a breeding site and program for rare and endangered species on a 1,000-acre site near New Orleans is the goal of an agreement between the Audubon Nature Institute and the San Diego Zoo Global. The two organizations have announced a partnership called the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife that, according to a press release, “will devise strategies to ensure sustainable populations of unique and endangered zoo animals [and] will be a haven for more than two dozen endangered and threatened mammal and bird species.”
At first, the preserve’s animals will include bongos, okapis, pink-backed pelicans, and whooping cranes. “This will be an accredited zoological facility and, in keeping with the requirements for accreditation, will have plans to take care of the animals in the event of a natural disaster.”