Mike Foley, Manager of Trail Programs at the Phoenix Zoo, started at the zoo as an instructor in the Night Camp Program in 2000. He now over sees the educational experience that every day guests get by working with employees and volunteers in the park that interact with Zoo guests.
The Zoo’s first major conservation animal was the Arabian Oryx. Foley says the Zoo opened in 1962 and in 1963 they became the home of the world herd of the Arabian Oryx. “In 1972, they were extinct in the wild and in 1982, they were released in the wild again. They were the first animal to be declared extinct in the wild and to have recovered to a point that they are no longer endangered,” says Foley.
The Zoo cares for over 30 endangered animals. Foley says a few of the endangered animals include: Arabian Oryx, Sumatran Tiger, Borneo Orangutan, Grevy’s Zebra, White Rhinoceros, Black Footed Ferret, Thick-billed Parrot, Mexican Gray Wolf, African Painted Dog, Asian Elephant and Chinese Alligator.
The Phoenix Zoo participates in local and global conservation. Foley says at the local level they are working to maintain healthy and self-sustaining managed setting populations of multiple endangered species natively found throughout Arizona.