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November 20

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International Desert Conservation Summit

Saturday, November 20  |  9:30 am - 4:00 pm (PST)

While we originally planned to host these 10 world-leading rhino conservationists at an in-person Summit in Palm Desert, Covid-related circumstances have led us to instead host our renowned speakers virtually as they join us from South Africa, Kenya, and the United States. We are grateful that this virtual event will be more accessible for our global audience, safer in the ongoing context of Covid-19 and, notably, more carbon friendly. 

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is ecstatic to host our Second Annual International Desert Conservation Summit on Saturday, November 20, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm (PST). The Summit is a significant gathering of experts from around the world focused on saving deserts and the animals, plants and communities that call the desert home. The theme this year is “Restoring Rhinos”, and our speakers are all global leaders in rhino conservation.

The Summit will feature ten speakers from three countries, representing nine conservation organizations. These conservationists will share rhino conservation stories from the field, along with success stories, key challenges, closer looks at their important work, and suggestions for how you can help. Summit attendees will have the unique opportunity to interact in a live question and answer session following each presentation. 

Registration Fee: $25


For over 50 years, The Living Desert has been dedicated to preserving and conserving the wildlife and wild places that call the desert home. Currently, The Living Desert works with 57 global conservation partners on 35 conservation projects spanning 10 countries. Projects include efforts to protect African species including black and white rhino, giraffe, cheetah and African painted dogs, as well as a strong focus on local species like the desert tortoise, Western pond turtle, and native California plants.


Dr. Susie Ellis,
International Rhino Foundation, USA
Rhinos in Crisis:  A Conservation Overview

Dr. William Fowlds,
Medivet Saving the Rhino Campaign Project Coordinator, South Africa
Diagnosis: Terminal - Turning Rhino Rescue into Habitat Restoration

Karen Odendaal,
Zululand Rhino Orphanage, South Africa
Rehabilitation and Rewilding of an Orphaned Rhino

Craig Spencer,
Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, South Africa
Black Mambas All-Woman Anti-Poaching Unit: A Community Approach to Build Resilience For A Protected Area

Lewyn Maefala,
Bush Babies Environmental Education Program, South Africa
Bush Babies Community Outreach Program: My Rhino, My Heritage, My Responsibility

Lindy Sutherland,

Kariega Game Reserve and Safari Lodges, South Africa

Engaging Communities as Conservation Partners: Successes and Lessons Learnt from The Kariega Foundation

Dr. James Danoff-Burg,
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, USA
Communities to Benefit Rhino Conservation: Building Social Science Capacity among Biologists to Evaluate Impact and Better Involve Communities

Samuel Mutisya,
Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya
Rhino Habitat Expansion: Opportunities and Challenges

Markus Hofmeyr,
Wildlife Conservation Network Rhino Recovery Fund, USA
The Rhino Recovery Fund of WCN – A Horny Recovery Business

RoxAnna Breitigan,
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, USA
How a Bond over Blueberry Bagels Inspired a Lifelong Love of the Black Rhino - And a Lifetime Commitment to Their High Quality of Well-being in Human Care

Participating Organizations & Sponsors

Bush Babies
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Logo



Are TLD members eligible for a discounted Summit registration fee?

There is no discounted price for members for this event.

What if I’m not available during the day or time of the Summit?

A recorded version of the Summit will be available for 60 days following the event, for all registered participants. In other words, if you register for the event you can still enjoy the Summit in its entirety even after the live broadcast has ended.

What day and time is the Summit?

The Summit will be live Saturday, November 20, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm (PST)

Can I attend a portion of the Summit?

Yes! We encourage registrants who are available for only a portion of the live event to attend for the time they are able, so you can interact with our presenters. You can catch what you missed once the recording is posted following the live event.

How do I register for the event?

Registration is $25 per person and $10 for students. Register Today>>

How do I redeem my student discount?

Please call (760) 346-5694 x 2134 to request a student discount from our Guest Services office. Your transaction will be processed over the phone.

Will I receive a refund if I cancel my registration?

For cancellations initiated more than two weeks prior to the Summit, a 50% refund will be issued. There is NO refund for cancellations initiated less than two weeks before the event.

What is the format of the Summit?

To inspire innovation and success in desert conservation initiatives, this Summit will showcase a collection of leading-edge desert conservation projects, emphasizing African rhino conservation. Each of our ten speakers will give a 20-minute presentation followed by live question and answer sessions with the audience.

We will bestow Desert Conservation Prizes to the most innovative and impactful programs to facilitate continued success and expansion of their efforts.

Will a recording of the Summit be available after the live version concludes?

Yes! Following the event, recorded versions of the Summit will be available to registered attendees and presenters for 60 days.

We will email you a link to access the recorded event as soon as it is posted.

What do I do if I need more help?

For general questions, please email

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