White Oak Conservation envisions a future with thriving wildlife populations, supported by a network of secure land and sustained by an informed and caring society.
White Oak strives to:
– Inform people about the value of wildlife, wild places and the diversity of life
– Celebrate wildlife and wild places
– Uplift the conservation conversation
– Inspire people to conservation action
– Protect key wildlife populations and secure critical habitats
– Develop highly skilled leaders with tools to manage effective conservation projects
The vision for White Oak includes continuing and expanding the internationally renowned wildlife sustainability programs that have been the hallmark of White Oak for more than 40 years. Our primary mission is to create an international model for the humane and effective care, assurance populations, and rewilding of rare species. White Oak is also a gathering point to inspire ideas and collaborations among students and organizations interested in wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability and the intersection with arts and education.
White Oak provides natural habitats and quality care for rare wildlife populations including rhinos, cheetahs, okapi, and cranes. White Oak currently manages over 30 wildlife species with a total population of more than 400 animals. Dedicated wildlife facilities and conservation habitats are located on 17,000 acres in northeastern Florida. White Oak managers and veterinarians have over 125 years of collective wildlife management experience, including protected area management and support for rare wildlife populations in Africa, Asia, and South America. White Oak has implemented rewilding programs with partners for panthers in Florida; sandhill cranes in Mississippi; bongo in Kenya; roan antelope and black rhino in South Africa; and Andean condors in Colombia. White Oak is involved with conservation project partners in Namibia (elephant, rhino, lion, giraffe, cheetah), Sumatra (elephant, rhino, tiger), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (okapi, forest elephant), Kenya, Chad, and Niger (antelope).
White Oak plays a role with sustainably managed wildlife assurance populations including participation in IUCN Species Survival Commission Specialist Groups, Taxon Advisory Groups, Species Survival Plans, and various US Fish and Wildlife Service species recovery plans. At our White Oak site, we have developed significant assurance populations and habitats for threatened large mammals and birds in support of sustainably managed programs in human care, as well as recovery programs for rare species (Florida panther, Mississippi sandhill crane, Whooping crane, Florida grasshopper sparrow).
White Oak is a founding member of Conservation Centers for Species Survival, C2S2 with a strong focus on antelope, cheetah and crane conservation. The Source Population Alliance is an initiative of C2S2 that focuses on expanding managed antelope populations and collaboration. White Oak is a Certified Related Organization of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
White Oak collaborates with conservation organizations with active field conservation programs including the Ongava Research Center (Namibia), International Elephant Foundation, International Rhino Foundation, Okapi Conservation Project, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Sahara Conservation Fund, Conservation Centers for Species Survival, and the International Crane Foundation.
As caretakers of the environment, White Oak embraces our responsibility for managing and protecting key, diverse landholdings. Our focus areas include our property in the St. Marys River watershed in Florida with pine uplands, hardwood swamps, and wetlands. Through a partnership network of natural areas around the globe, we work to preserve and protect wildlands that enable threatened wildlife populations to thrive. Stewardship program practices – including habitat restoration, control of invasive plant and pest species, and prescribed burns – protect and enhance critical wildlife habitat and promote species diversity.
With a living curriculum including more than 30 threatened and rare species and 17,000 acres of Florida forest and riverfront as a classroom, White Oak inspires students to become conservation leaders. Education programs are offered to students from 7 years old to college-age. They participate in unique animal experiences, interactions with animal experts, and activities based on conservation science. Internships, residencies, and career training led by expert staff and mentors provide hands-on experiences for conservation professionals with the intent of developing conservation leaders.
White Oak educates students and guests about the plight of rare species and the escalating threats to their well-being and habitats. Education programs at White Oak include wildlife conservation curriculums for K-16 students, summer and adult camps, and on-site conservation leaders training programs. Immersive programs introduce White Oak’s 5,000 annual guests to activities that encourage them to take action and support wildlife conservation. Training and leadership program opportunities for wildlife professionals include wildlife vet residency, veterinary preceptorships, internships in zoological management, vet technicians, and conservation management. White Oak operates Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders classes and hosts various conservation groups and boards with conservation agendas.