The Living Desert
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Mission: The mission of The Living Desert is to promote desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation by:

  • preserving a portion of the Colorado Desert in its natural state,
  • fostering through interpretive exhibits, program and publications an awareness of an appreciation for the variety of plants and animals in the worldwide desert ecosystems,
  • building up under controlled condition population of various species of desert animals and plants threatened with extinction in the wild state, and
  • fostering through cooperative research and education programs biological studies contributing to the protection of desert species in the wild state.

This mission frames our conservation activities.

Scope: The Living Desert’s primary conservation focus is desert plants and animals, and desert ecosystems. We conduct in situ conservation activities locally, regionally and internationally. The Living Desert also conducts ex situ conservation activities at our facility.

Scale: The Living Desert engages in conservation on all scales from very specific small projects to grand scale, ecologically broad programs.

Role: The Living Desert’s most effective role is as a conservation partner with others. We also take the role of facilitating other’s conservation initiatives and sometimes as a contributor of resources or funds to support conservation.

Goals: The Living Desert values native biological diversity and intact functioning natural ecosystems. Our goal is to take effective action to promote or secure these values.

Evaluation: The success of our projects and programs is evaluated on measures of the impact of our actions to promote or secure the above values or the experienced gained from doing so.

Considerations in selecting and prioritizing projects or programs:

  • within TLD’s mission
  • sufficient funding
  • available staff time
  • the skills, talents and interests of our staff relative to the project or program
  • politics
  • quality and design of project or program
  • probability of success
  • expected output
  • conservation impact of the success

Selection is made by The Living Desert’s institutional and program leaders. Specifically this is the President, the Director of Conservation and the appropriate program directors and curators.

Desert Tortoise

Conservation Education

The Living Desert’s conservation education programs focuses on delivering a conservation message, inspiring value for our natural world in the receiver of the message, and compelling action from them to preserve our natural world.


Sustainable Use

The Living Desert recognizes that conservation of wildlife implies not only concern for wild populations, but concern for the impact that TLD has on its local environment. TLD demonstrates responsible energy and natural resource conservation through such activities as recycling, water conservation initiatives and efficient or alternate energy use.


Field Research

Field research is the scientific study of a species’ natural history. Where are animals or plants located? What kind of habitat do they use? What does the animal eat? What are their activity patterns and social organizations? Without all these answers, it is impossible to design an effective conservation plan.


Reintroduction and Recovery

The reintroduction of rare or endangered species is an important technique for combating the current unprecedented extinction of plants and animals in the world. Recovery is establishing free-ranging, viable, reproductive populations of endangered species that can freely interact with the environment.


Ecological Integrity

Ecological restoration is the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action.


Land Management and Acquisition

One of the most direct means of conserving nature is controlling the use of an area of land for the conservation of its natural inhabitants. Parks are a model of this approach.

Community-Based Conservation

The goal of community-based conservation is to incorporate improvement in the lives of local people and control of conservation action by the local communities while conserving areas and wildlife.


Technology Development and Capacity Building

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is the technology used to achieve pregnancy in procedures such as fertility medication, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. The development of medical technologies, computational technologies and personnel training are other areas of technology development that can benefit species survival, population management and ecosystem conservation.


Financial Contribution

Fund raising for conservation projects that support our desert conservation mission is one of the most direct ways of supporting new or already successful ideas or projects.


Conservation at the Zoo and in the Gardens

Ex situ conservation is the re-location of endangered or rare species from their natural habitat to the protected area of the zoological or botanical park equipped for their protection and preservation. It is an essential alternative strategy when in situ conservation is inadequate.


Federal Endangered Species Recovery Team Participation

The U.S. Endangered Species Act mandates that recovery plans be developed for all threatened and endangered native species, subspecies or distinct populations. Participation in recovery processes is another way in which TLD promotes long term conservation of the endangered and threatened wildlife.

Zoo News