By Gigi Allianic
The commemoration to Freeman is located near the zoo’s snow leopard exhibit. Members of the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT), Freeman’s family, and local artist Gretchen Daiber collaborated with the zoo to create the sculptural vignette: a clipboard detailing Freeman’s observations of snow leopards, a leaping snow leopard and a small plaque.
“The commemorative sculptures aptly capture the passion, spirit and life’s work of Helen,” noted Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, Brad Rutherford. “The Snow Leopard Trust is keeping Helen’s dream alive to save the cats she loved so much. We hope this new tribute will inspire zoo visitors to reflect on the legacy of snow leopard conservation she left behind and on her vision that will continue into the future.”
Freeman’s interest in snow leopards began in the early 1970s as a volunteer docent at Woodland Park Zoo where she began studying the zoo’s pair of snow leopards from
Under Freeman’s guidance the Trust pioneered new approaches to snow leopard conservation and its habitat in
“Helen made a special connection with the snow leopards at the zoo and came to understand how these animals are conservation ambassadors for their cousins in the wild. Her drive to protect the species led her to build an organization that works with real communities to save these animals in their natural habitat. We miss Helen, but are proud to be part of helping her work and dream continue to succeed,” said Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen.
Woodland Park Zoo currently has a 14-year-old female snow leopard, which was joined this year by new arrivals, a 2-year-old male and a 3-year-old female, named Helen in honor of Helen Freeman.
The Snow Leopard Trust is now the oldest and largest organization whose sole purpose is to protect endangered snow leopards in their native Central Asian habitat, with programs and staff in key range countries, a global network of researchers and partnerships with local communities in the cats’ habitat. “The strength and independence of the Trust today is part of Helen’s legacy and stands as her greatest achievement in the snow leopard sphere of her life,” added
The Snow Leopard Trust is one of Woodland Park Zoo’s Partners for Wildlife conservation initiatives, an expansion of the zoo’s efforts and resources in proven field conservation projects. The zoo currently partners with 38 field conservation projects in 50 countries around the world. For more information about Woodland Park Zoo’s conservation efforts, visit www.zoo.org.
Artist Gretchen Daiber of
Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), award-winning Woodland Park Zoo is famed for pioneering naturalistic exhibits and setting international standards for zoos all over the world. The 21st century zoo is helping to save animals and their habitats in
To view a photo of the sculpture, please click on the link below:
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