February 8, 2021

TORONTO, ON, Monday, February 8, 2021: The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy, a partner with your Toronto Zoo in the fight against extinction, has released the results of a survey conducted by Common Good Strategies to better understand the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA’s) familiarity of wildlife conservation initiatives and actions.

While eighty-five percent of respondents acknowledged that humans are at fault for wildlife extinction and admit that conservation is important to them, only half of GTA residents believe they can make a difference for endangered species living in their own backyard.

“The results of the 2020 Wildlife Conservation Awareness Survey send a clear message that awareness is a significant factor driving conservation action,” said Beth Gilhespy, Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director. “The research shows that people care about wildlife survival, but the less they knew about conservation issues impacting wildlife, the less they felt they could personally make a difference. By contrast, those with more awareness of the issues also had more awareness of the actions they could take – and do take – to protect wildlife; nevertheless even the most knowledgeable respondents are underestimating species decline in Canada.”

The survey also revealed that less than thirty percent of respondents were aware that there are more than 10 endangered or threatened animals living in the GTA.

“The results of this survey are a clear indication that the Toronto Zoo is doing important work in raising awareness around conservation and the extinction of animals,” said Mayor John Tory. “While the Toronto Zoo is known for providing families with a fun experience, their work in conservation is making a real impact on a global level. I hope that the results of this survey encourage people to strive to be part of the solution and work with organizations like the Toronto Zoo in protecting these animals.”

“The results of this survey are a strong endorsement of your Toronto Zoo’s important role in conservation education, as well as a call to action to expand our outreach beyond our traditional audiences” said Dolf DeJong, Toronto Zoo Chief Executive Officer.  “Your Toronto Zoo will focus on developing more targeted messaging and directives for our guests and community to take meaningful conservation actions and to make a positive difference for wildlife.”

To read the results of the 2020 Wildlife Conservation Awareness Survey,


To learn about the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy and its work, visit

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Media Contact Information:

Beth Gilhespy
Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director
(416) 392-5913

Amanda Chambers
Supervisor of Strategic Communications

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The Toronto Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction and our vision is a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive.

An iconic tourist attraction and Conservation organization, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.2 million guests each year.

Toronto Zoo is accredited by Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has also achieved the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of Good Animal Practice® and is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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