For Release: September 26, 2006
Peper Long (202) 633-3082
National Zoo Mourns the Deaths of Conservationists in Nepal
Statement from John Berry, Director of the National Zoo
I and the staff of the Smithsonian's National Zoo are profoundly saddened by the loss of friends, colleagues and fellow conservationists who perished in a helicopter crash in Nepal on Sept. 23. Our deepest condolences go out to their families and friends at their tragic loss.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) staff members, U.S. AID staff, and senior Nepali government officials and conservationists were among the 24 people who died. They were returning from a ceremony during which management of a conservation area in a remote mountainous region was turned over to local communities.
These farsighted conservationists led successful efforts like this throughout Nepal, protecting that nation's biodiversity while improving the lives of local people through community-based conservation. Tigers, rhinos, gharials, elephants and other endangered species owe their continued survival in Nepal to these individuals.
In their honor and in recognition of their contributions to the planet, we at the National Zoo will join in spirit Nepal's national day of mourning on Sept. 27.
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