On a hot August day in 2011, visitors to the Oakland Zoo became much more than visitors, they became wildlife heroes! Each time a visitor entered the zoo, a twenty-five cent conservation donation was contributed in support of several Oakland Zoo conservation projects. With thousands of visitors each year, these quarters have added up to a significant help for animals. Our slogan for Quarters for Conservation project is “Saving Wildlife with Each Visit” and it has proven true.
Kids swirl their tokens to save wildlife
Guests even determined where the funding went. Each visitor was able to vote for their favorite project out of our featured three with their token they received at the gate and their spare change.
Zoo visitors love Quarters for Conservation for many reasons: the opportunity to teach children about voting, the chance to learn about wildlife conservation, the feeling of pride in their visit, and their ability to easily help the species they have grown to love. Zoo staff also experienced an increase in pride in their job, and the animals in the wild benefited most of all. Here are the results:
From August 2011- September 2012, Quarters for Conservation raised $102,499!
50% of Quarters for Conservation went to our three featured projects and was divided by visitor votes.
There were 222,722 votes total.
38% went to Amboseli Fund for Elephants for total of $19,475
Amboseli Trust for Elephants funds vital research in Kenya
36% went to The Budongo Snare Removal Project for a total of $18,450
The Budongo Snare Removal project protects chimpanzees from hunters, like this chimp named “Oakland”.
26% went to Ventana Wildlife Society’s Condor Recovery Project for a total of $13,325
Condors now soar above Big Sur thanks to the work of the Ventana Wildlife Society.
25 % of Quarters for Conservation went to various Oakland Zoo Conservation Field Partners, decided by the Conservation Committee:
EWASO Lion Project $2000
Giraffe Conservation Foundation $5000
Project Golden Frog $1500
Animals Asia $1500
Hornbill Nest Project $1500
Lubee Bat Conservancy $5000
Africa Matters $1500
Bay Area Puma Project $2500
Conservation Centre $2500
American Bird Conservancy $100
The remaining 25% went to on-site conservation at the zoo, such as our work with condors and western pond turtles.
Here is what zoo visitors had to say about our first year of Quarters for Conservation:
- I feel good that I am helping wildlife
- It makes sense that we should all contribute
- I’m glad I chose this zoo
- Quarters for Conservation makes the zoo a better place
- This donation enhances my experience at the zoo
- I did my good deed for the day!
Here is what some of our conservation field partners had to say:
“The greatest threats condors face in California are ingestion of lead, primarily from spent ammunition, and eggshell thinning caused by past DDT discharges into the marine environment. The Oakland Zoo’s Quarters for Conservation program is assisting Ventana Wildlife Society with both of these issues and is an excellent example of how a zoo can directly recover endangered animals in the field through partnerships and engaging their visitors.”
Kelly Sorenson, Director – Ventana Wildlife Society
“The unique opportunity that Oakland Zoo has given us is the long term vision of saving chimpanzees by eliminating the threat of hunting. It has been a truly amazing story of a project that simply started as a snare removal campaign but led to the development of wildlife clubs in schools and provision of nanny goats for the ex-hunters associations. We would like to thank Oakland Zoo staff and visitors for believing in our initiatives. Together we should be proud that we piloted a scheme that has yielded dividends beyond our expectations.”
Fred Babweterra of The Budongo Snare Removal Project
“The Amboseli Trust for Elephants just received their Quarters for Conservation donation from the Oakland Zoo and it made us very happy indeed. We were thrilled that the public voted for the money raised to go to elephants, specifically ATE. We will use these funds to help protect and to continue to learn more about the Amboseli elephants. Thank you Oakland Zoo and all the people who care for wildlife.”
Cynthia Moss, Founder Amboseli Trust for Elephants
As a community, we have a great power to not only enjoy the zoo and learn from the animals, but to genuinely help their plight in the wild. Quarters for Conservation represents a true shift in the way the Oakland Zoo and our fantastic visitors engage with animals. We celebrate the wildlife hero in us all.