San Diego (June 27, 2001)--To help ensure that time doesn’‘t run out for the endangered black rhinoceros, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), together with a contribution from Ardana Bioscience, is making a $30,000 gift to the World-Famous San Diego Zoo’‘s Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species’‘ (CRES)  Millennium Initiative. 

This leading edge initiative is designed to direct attention to the crisis of habitat loss. The objective is to focus on the protection of several species and conserve their living environment. This commitment to field conservation covers six geographical areas: Africa, China, Southwestern United States, South America, the Pacific and Caribbean Islands. In those respective areas, 12 postdoctoral scientists, eight of whom have already been assigned, with the remaining four to be appointed in 2002, will examine such species as the golden monkey, komodo dragon and black rhinoceros.

BIO’‘s gift will contribute to funding one of the four remaining postdoctoral fellowships.
This individual’‘s research will be dedicated to studying how the black rhinoceros, which has been recently reintroduced in South Africa, adapt and reproduce in a new habitat. This species is one of the most critically endangered mammals in sub-Saharan Africa.

 When many people think of biotechnology, they usually think about biomedical research, new medicines and biotech crops and food,  said Carl B. Feldbaum, president of BIO.  But biotechnology is also about protecting ecosystems, saving species and preserving biodiversity. Funding this fellowship is an expression of our commitment to these principles in the work we do every day. 

In 1975, CRES was founded by the Zoological Society of San Diego to protect and preserve rare and endangered wildlife and their habitats. Today, more than 75 CRES researchers are gaining knowledge about the unique needs of wildlife and translating that knowledge into strategies to better manage species in zoos and in the wild. This knowledge is essential to protecting endangered species and helping them to flourish in the wild.

According to Andy Phillips, Ph.D., CRES deputy research director, BIO’‘s donation is welcome and will help support the program’‘s emphasis on research and conservation in the field.  BIO’‘s generous contribution will help our efforts to establish a long term presence in field conservation,  said Phillips.  The Zoological Society of San Diego’‘s aim with the fellowship program is to assist young postdoctoral scientists in carrying out field projects on endangered species and allow them to work collaboratively with CRES scientists, researchers, veterinarians, and our education department in saving earth’‘s precious species from the brink of extinction. 

This gift was presented at the conclusion of BIO 2001’‘s four-day conference. It is representative of the special relationship that BIO enjoys with San Diego and is among several donations given to the city by BIO. Other outreach examples are: $24,000 for BioGenius Awards to local middle and high school science students, $25,000 to the family of Officer Donna Mauzy, who was killed on Saturday, June 23, by a drunk driver, and $10,000 given this past fall to help fund the science lab at High Tech High.

BIO represents more than 950 companies, academic institutions and state biotech centers in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.