Mission: The Wildlife Conservation Center (WCC) mission is to actively engage in the breeding and propagation of endangered, threatened, and vulnerable wildlife species for the purpose of ensuring future sustainable populations of genetic diversity that may ultimately be reintroduced into their native habitats.
Community Need: Many animals are reaching a critical tipping point where there are more animals in captivity than in nature. The WCC was founded to address this concern while following selective genetic criteria, adhering to SSP recommendations, and collaborating with similar facilities and institutions to produces the best genetically sound offspring. WCC has future plans to provide endangered species for reintroduction into their native habitats that are protected and prepared for their arrival.
The WCC’s first population of concern is the Eastern Mountain Bongo as they are susceptible to cold weather, whereas the climate here is comparable to native regions for the other antelopes on-site. Because the Bongo are similar to cattle, they are susceptible to diseases from cattle being introduced into their native habitat. This is a major factor in their continued decline. An enclosed habitat will allow for more direct care of animals, taking less time and less stress to the animal.
Primary Activities: WCC programming for 2018-2019 will concentrate on breeding and building herds for the four most endangered antelope in the world. The initial goal was to work with this population and then introduce other antelope species in consecutive years. The issue quickly became the growing need to save these animals and the Addax, Scimitar Horned Oryx, and Dama Gazelle were added in 2016-17 to grow those herds as well. In addition to working with animals at WCC, the staff also regularly travels to work and meet with other research institutions across the U.S. to establish the partnerships that will be needed when the native reintroduction process begins.
Constituents Served: The Wildlife Conservation Center was founded in Nelson County on a 45 acre farm. This project has global implications for four species and their countries of origin. By reintroducing native species and strengthening their numbers assists in the improvement and health of the ecosystem. In addition, there is a global community of researchers, educators, scientist, environmentalists, zoologists, and students studying these populations that can have direct access to these animals. In addition three other species are served at WCC: three Addax, four Scimitar Horned
Program Details: The Bongo Habitat Project will allow for additional controls in breeding and births and provide extreme weather boarding to ensure long-term herd health. The barn will also provide an ideal setting for routine veterinary checks/animal care. WCC combines the animal-centric focus with constant research and education with each animal carefully chosen to slowly build a herd for maximum integration and breeding. So far, they have raised $55,000 for the $70,000 project, with a $10,000 pending request. The safety, care, and comfort of the animals is the rationale for this project. To date they have installed basic enclosure fencing, provided a small weather and storage shelter, and has built the exterior structure of a larger barn space.
Amount Requested: $5,000
Operating Budget: $126,581