Our planet is amazingly rich and abundant with life. We share its land, water, and sky with a magnificent diversity of wildlife. We have a responsibility to conserve species and their habitats, so that we leave our children and grandchildren a world that is even richer and more abundant.
At the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, we seek to inspire, train, and empower successive generations to care for the world’s biological diversity. Our tools are our exhibits, science, outreach, and education programs. Ultimately, everything we do must be oriented toward protecting wildlife and other forms of biological diversity so that we, and future societies, continue to enjoy the incalculable benefits of our natural world.
Today, thousands of species—some of them in the care of the National Zoo—are facing extinction, and many fragile ecosystems critical to the well-being of societies around the world are under great strain from human activities. As the challenges of safeguarding the Earth’s living heritage grow, so does the National Zoo’s determination to play a leading role in shaping a brighter future for both people and wildlife.
The strategic plan outlined here is ambitious. By 2016, we expect to be recognized as nothing less than the world’s finest zoo—an acknowledged leader in the areas of animal care, science, education, and sustainability. We start with many powerful assets. With hard work, commitment, enthusiasm, and the collaborative efforts of the Zoo’s talented staff and dedicated friends, I am certain the National Zoo’s best days lie ahead.