San Diego Zoo Safari Park Celebrated in the 134th Rose Parade
December 29, 20223 min read
Celebrating 50 Years of Conservation
Conservation starts with people and the Safari Park has inspired countless allies worldwide—reminding each of us that, together, hope for a better tomorrow is just around the corner.
The Rose Parade gives San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance an incredible opportunity to bring our conservation message of hope to a global audience, empowering viewers to join us in making a meaningful difference for wildlife, people, and the planet we all share. Through this larger-than-life storytelling opportunity, we spark the imagination and touch the hearts of countless allies around the globe, inviting them to save, protect, and care for wildlife worldwide and to join us in our commitment to a world where all life thrives.
At the front of the float is four-month-old Neville and his mom Livia, two southern white rhinos who bring enormous hope to the cutting-edge efforts to save their northern white rhino cousins. With only two northern white rhinos left on Earth—a mother and daughter pair—San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is combining groundbreaking conservation science with more than a century of world-class wildlife expertise to save them. In fact, Neville is the third rhino born as part of this revolutionary program at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—joining Edward and Future, who also made history as the first southern white rhinos born through artificial insemination in North America. The science is working—and as Neville and his saucer-sized feet continue to grow, so do the dreams for rhino conservation worldwide.
Standing tall on her 4-foot legs and looking for a cool drink from the flowing waterfalls is Msituni (see-TOO-nee), an 11-month-old giraffe whose name means “in the forest” in Swahili. Born unable to walk, a condition she would not have survived in her native habitat, Msituni required months of critical around the-clock care, along with several pairs of custom giraffe-sized orthotic leg braces, to support her while she gained the necessary strength and eventually learned to walk. Today, after making a full recovery, Msituni runs alongside dozens of other giraffes, as well as herds of wildebeest, impalas, rhinos, and Cape buffalo across the hills and grasslands of the Safari Park’s African savannas.
Four African crowned cranes meander through lush landscapes, giving us a glimpse into the Safari Park’s more than 1.3 million individual plants, which are cared for by dedicated teams of horticulturists. More than 3,700 plant species, and several accredited botanical gardens, are part of the Safari Park’s global conservation efforts. Hundreds of individual plants, delicately propagated and grown at the Safari Park, have been brought to Pasadena and are on the float, bringing the vibrant savanna grasslands—and this moment—to life.
From the back, and standing 15 feet tall, Msituni’s parents peek with curiosity into an open-air safari truck full of guests, immersed in this life-changing moment. The riders are the wildlife care specialists, veterinarians, and conservation scientists from the Safari Park who have dedicated their lives to caring for Neville, Msituni, and countless others in San Diego and around the globe. They are joined by Executive Director of the Safari Park Lisa Peterson and expert safari guides, as well as the next generation of conservationists, as they experience this one-of-a-kind adventure surrounded by the wonders of wildlife and intricate beauty of nature.
A moment can change a lifetime—and every moment at the Safari Park is a remarkable journey, with the opportunity to touch hearts and change the world. Conservation starts with people, and as the lyrics of “We Will Rise” remind us, with strength and bravery, together we will rise. From the brave and innovative efforts to save the northern white rhino through a first-of-its-kind surrogacy program, to the dedicated around-the-clock care giving the world’s wildlife a second chance, and the lifelong connections that make our world a smaller place—and unite us—these transformational moments happen every day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. And every time they happen, we turn the corner, bringing us one step closer to a world where all life thrives.
Celebrate this year's 134th Tournament of Roses parade Safari style. Get your exclusive gear to commemorate the Safari Park's 50th Anniversary which will be our theme for our 2023 Rose Parade Float entry. From cute and comfortable apparel and accessories to drinkware suitable for toasting this milestone, our official 50th Anniversary logo features the bold profile of an African rhino against a sunset landscape. Help support wildlife and rhino conservation with our line of commemorative 50th anniversary gear - click here. Here's to 2023 and cheers to this iconic New Year's Day tradition!
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