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Established in 1929, Zoo Zürich in Switzerland stands as one of Europe’s premier zoological institutions. Renowned for its commitment to public education and fostering a deep appreciation for nature, the zoo actively supports in-situ conservation efforts conducted by carefully selected partners.

In alignment with its dedication to community-focused conservation grounded in science, Zoo Zürich has been a steadfast supporter of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy since 1998. Over the span of 22 years, Zoo Zürich has generously invested CHF 2,600,000 (USD $2,700,000) in Lewa’s conservation programs, culminating in the formalization of a partnership between the two organizations in 2019.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, home to 15% of Kenya’s rhino population, is globally recognized for its leadership in community-centric conservation and sustainable development. This reputation led to the selection of Lewa as the centerpiece exhibit at Zoo Zürich. Five years in the making, the Lewa Savanna exhibit welcomed its inaugural visitors on June 6th, 2020.

Spanning the largest area within the zoo, the exhibit is home to 15 species, including the Reticulated giraffe, White rhino, Grevy’s zebra, various antelope species, ostriches, spotted hyenas, and other African savanna inhabitants. Prior to its launch, the zoo celebrated the birth of its first baby White rhino, a promising sign for the success of the Lewa Savanna.

Visitors to the zoo are invited to embark on a safari adventure aboard a safari bus, traversing the African savanna landscape meticulously recreated within the exhibit. While artistic liberties have been taken, incorporating iconic African flora like the majestic baobab tree, absent from Lewa, the exhibit also features elements familiar to Kenyan visitors. Notably, it highlights Lewa’s impactful work, including support for neighboring communities, with a faithful replica of a school supported by Lewa.

Through its affiliation with the Conservancy, the Lewa Savanna aims to inspire visitors to actively engage in the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. Additionally, it serves as a tangible example of community-based conservation in Kenya, showcasing the benefits of harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife. This partnership serves as a springboard for Lewa to expand its fundraising efforts in Europe, further supporting its wildlife conservation and community development initiatives.

School in the Lewa village.
Copyright: Zurich Zoo, Marco Schaffner
Pool hyena.
Copyright: Zurich Zoo, Robert Zingg

In addition to Zoo Zürich, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy receives generous support from some of the most reputable zoos in the world, including San Diego Zoo, as well as other members of the American Association of Zoos.

These invaluable partners share Lewa’s deep commitment to educating the public about the significance of protecting endangered species in their natural habitats. Furthermore, they actively contribute essential funding for conservation efforts, thereby playing a crucial role in safeguarding wildlife and their habitats.

For further details about Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s partnership with Zoo Zürich, please contact us at

“Lewa and Zoo Zürich’s partnership is built on our shared commitment to conserving Africa’s iconic species like the black and white rhino. This exhibit will allow our visitors to not only understand but also see what a special ecosystem this is and why it needs to be protected. We are very excited about being part of such a powerful story” said Dr. Alex Rübel, Director, Zoo Zürich.

White rhinoceros and reticulated giraffe in the Lewa Savanne at Zoo Zürich
Copyright: Zoo Zürich, Goran Basic.