In an April 8 article, the magazine listed the top nine popular zoos in the United States that help fund and initiate animal conservation efforts. The Denver Zoo was ranked No. 7. The rankings come from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which also included smaller AZA-accredited locations.
"But as amazing as it can be to witness these wild animals up close, many activists view zoos as prisons," the article reads. "That's why it's important to do your research and carefully choose the zoo you support."
Jake Kubie, the director of communications for Denver Zoo, was shocked to learn about the recognition from the magazine.
"It was actually a surprise. It just popped up online and we saw it, and we were definitely honored to be in such good company," he said.
That good company includes, for example, the San Diego Zoo and Disney's Animal Kingdom.
The Denver Zoo works with the AZA and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) to provide on-site education to help the pubic understand threats to biodiversity, according to the zoo. It commits more than $2 million each year toward conservation programs at the zoo, within the community and region, and in four other countries.
"We have longstanding programs in places like Mongolia and Peru helping save certain target species," Kubie said. "Conservation is no longer just a local issue in all of us here in a zoo. All of us in the community have a role in helping protect nature, the environment and wildlife."
Since 1996, the zoo has supported or participated in more than 600 conservation projects in 62 countries.
The 80-acre zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals. It's celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
The grand opening for the zoo's new state-of-the-art animal hospital will take place in a few weeks. You can also expect to find a new exhibit for its African penguins later in 2021.