I was on a plane over New York City last Friday when I read the news that the Central Park Zoo’s long-resident polar bear, Ida, had died.
I grew up in the City and some of my earliest and fondest childhood memories are of the zoo. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the Central Park Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, and the American Museum of Natural History, I probably wouldn’t have ended up working in the conservation movement.
But Ida was special. When NRDC and our allies launched our campaign to protect polar bears under the Endangered Species Act, one of the first things we did was hold a press conference. Thanks to the generous support of the Wildlife Conservation Society (which runs the zoo) we were able to have that press conference in the Central Park Zoo. We made quite an impression that day and a picture a colleague of mine snapped of Ida, the star attraction, is below. Today, polar bears enjoy the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
So rest in peace Ida. You done your species proud.