In honor of Giraffe Day, June 21, we welcome Global Conservation Force Giraffe Project Coordinator Mike Bona. Giraffe are suffering what many are calling a “silent extinction.” They have suffered a 40% reduction in their population in just the last 15 years. Mike is a long time hoof stock keeper at the LA Zoo and has been involved in many conservation projects with many endangered species. His focus has primarily been in Giraffe and has now joined Global Conservation Force to protect and preserve these majestic animals.
Mike grew up in Paso Robles, located on the central coast of California. His love for animals dates back before he can remember. In high school he started volunteering for a local wildlife educational outreach program. There he learned about a two year college program at Moorpark College for exotic animal training and management. After graduating from Moorpark in 2001 he was hired as an animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. Mike has worked with a variety of animals from rhinos, primates, big cats and great apes to name a few. In 2005 he started working with Giraffes and hasn’t looked back. In 2010 he made his first conservation trip to Africa, working on the Rothschild Giraffe Project with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Kenya. A few years later he returned to work with Namibia’s Desert Dwelling Angolan Giraffes.