Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Zoo Visitors Save Wildlife!

by | January 11th, 2013

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

Bornean Sunbear

Conservation Centre                                       $2500

ARCAS                                                                   $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.

The Conservation Expedition Returns

by | August 29th, 2011

After three weeks in Uganda and Rwanda, our fifteen Oakland Zoo expeditioners safely returned. We had an epic adventure! This blog is a general overview – with detailed blogs to come.

Eco-travel with the Oakland Zoo Conservation team is a bit different than most safaris. We do go on safari, of course, but we give each safari, each activity, and each day a dose of authenticity – a genuine experience of African culture and conservation. Our participants join us because they are passionate about conserving wildlife, and our partnerships in these countries allow them to jump in and do just that.

We started at the Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre  in Entebbe with a hug and tour from Henry Opio, an animal keeper who spent time at the Oakland Zoo earlier in the year. We brought Henry and his crew a much needed  primate net that could be used for emergency capturing (apparently one monkey was quite the escape artist).

Onward, we spend some time with the Budongo Snare Removal Project . We walked through the gorgeous forest with the snare removal team, visited a school to exchange a few songs and dances, and listened to poetry written by their conservation club. We participated in an eye-opening meeting of ex-hunters who have renounced poaching to instead raise goats. A day I will never forget was when we set up a goat clinic for the participating villages. Under the leadership of Dr. Goodnight of the  Oakland Zoo and Dr. Carol of the Budongo project, we de-wormed over 300 goats!

The beautiful Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve and lodge were next, with cushy couches to take in views of the expansive savannah. Game drives were in an old-school open truck and delicious meals were served by lantern light at a giant dining room table.

The Kibale forest was our next adventure – and our crew enjoyed chimp treks and bird walks in the lush forests. Our special treat there was a visit to the Kibale Fuel Wood Project. It was inspiring to see how this innovative project protects forests. Highlights were attending their outdoor movie night, visiting their science center, dancing along with their talented dancers and learning how to make their colorful paper beads.

At Queen Elizabeth Park we lost count of the number of elephants, hippopotamus and birds we saw. Spending time with Dr. Ludwig Seifert, lion conservation expert, gave us insight into issues facing predators that live near pastoral communities. Seeing a pride of lions out in the bush and up in a tree was breathtaking.

We then crossed the border into Rwanda where our focus was the endangered Mountain Gorilla. Trekking to see these majestic great apes is a once in a life time experience – and spending time with the International Gorilla Conservation Project, the Mountain Gorilla Vet Project and the Virunga Artisans offered us the big picture once again.

We returned with more than great art and wildlife photos, but with great connections, insight and wisdom that can only be gained when you jump in!

The Launch of a Zoo Evolution: Quarters for Conservation!

by | August 18th, 2011

Visiting the Oakland Zoo may bring you a number of positive feelings. The feeling of connection when you spend time with family and friends, the feeling of awe when you learn about animals and their amazing adaptations, or the feeling of wonder when you gaze at a gorgeous elephant or tiger, but starting on August 19th, a new feeling should come over all our visitors: pride.

That is because of our new initiative, Quarters for Conservation. Each time a guest now visits the zoo, a twenty five cent conservation donation will be contributed in support of several Oakland Zoo conservation projects. With thousands of visitors each year, these quarters add up to a significant increase in the zoos capacity to support animals and habitats in the wild. Our slogan, “Saving Wildlife with Each Visit” about sums it up.

Guests will even determine where the funding goes. When you enter the zoo, you will be given a token. This token can be taken to the conservation voting station in Flamingo Plaza and used to “vote for” a conservation project that inspires you. Quarters are also accepted.

This year, you can vote to:

Help protect chimpanzees in Uganda through the Budongo Snare Removal Project. This project provides a solution to poaching by sponsoring forest guards, snare removers and educators, and by offering nanny goats to ex- poachers as an alternative source of food and income.

Help conserve African elephants in Kenya, through the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. This renowned program is aimed at increasing our knowledge of African elephants and ensuring their long-term conservation. Through their efforts, every elephant in Amboseli National Park has been identified, named, and studied.

Help keep the California condor alive and in the wild through the Ventana Wildlife Society Condor Project. This innovative project collects thin-shelled eggs laid by ill condors, and replaces them with viable captive-bred eggs, treats lead-poisoned birds, and monitors the safety and health of each condor through radio telemetry.

These projects will be featured until summer 2012, when three new projects will be chosen

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 ways zoos see themselves, and the way the public is beginning to view zoos; as true institutions for conservation action. Engaging you, the zoo visitor, in this evolution is very exciting.

Ready to change the world?

Meeting Zed and Zalu in Uganda

by | April 19th, 2010

The best shot I could get with my point-and-shoot camera.

Walking through the forest on a dirt path, keeping our voices low, following Fred Babweteera and hanging on his every word to learn about this place, we saw them.  Sitting a hundred yards in front of us, right on the path, two brothers: Zalu and Zed.  My first wild chimpanzees!

With a group of eighteen wildlife enthusiasts from the Oakland Zoo, I had traveled to Uganda to have this amazing experience.  We were in the Budongo Forest, a rare treat since this area is designated for research, not tourism.  Fred and the Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) staff were very generous hosts for us, because the Oakland Zoo sponsors their Snare Removal Program.  Each September, through a lecture and silent auction, we raise over $8000 to keep these chimpanzees safe.

Amy Gotliffe meets the Snare Patrol team.

Zalu and Zed’s story explains why these chimpanzees need help from halfway around the world.  Their mother, Zana, had both hands permanently deformed from trap injuries.  This is not uncommon among the Sonso chimp group, since illegal snares set to catch wild pigs and duiker also catch, but rarely kill, chimpanzees.  Zena died in 2007, leaving both boys orphans before they were really old enough to enter the male dominance hierarchy.  Luckily, Zalu proved to be a good caretaker for younger Zed and the brothers are doing alright for themselves.

You can learn more about the snares set in Budongo Forest from our YouTube video!

To learn more about the Oakland Zoo’s support for BCFS, please visit www.oaklandzoo.org.

To learn more about Zalu, Zed, their neighbors and protectors, visit www.budongo.org.

Dr. Goodall, I Presume?

by | April 13th, 2010

What if I told you that there is one person who brings more star-struck expressions to the faces of our teen volunteers than any other? Who might you guess it would be? What if I told you that this person is not an actor or musician, and has never graced the cover of “US Weekly”? That in fact, this person is 76 years old and has been known to carry a stuffed animal everywhere? Doesn’t sound like a teen idol to you? Well, expectations are often defied when you’re Dr. Jane Goodall.

Dr. Jane with a few of the Oakland Zoo's Teen Wild Guides

As Dr. Jane’s groundbreaking study of the chimpanzees at Gombe celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it’s a good time to reflect on the legacy her work has created. Her contributions to science cannot be understated- what began as a study to learn about chimps as a means of learning about ourselves, has evolved into one of the longest and most complex animal studies ever undertaken. From Dr. Jane we have learned some of the most basic things we now know about chimpanzees- that they hunt for monkeys, live in complex family groups, and of course, make and use tools. To this day, scientific data is recorded at Gombe that continues to deepen our understanding of chimps and their relation to us.

But I might argue that Dr. Jane’s greatest legacy is reflected on the faces of those teens I know personally who look up to her like no other. Dr. Jane is a legend to them. They see her as an icon, but also not so very different from them. Dr. Jane herself was 26 years old with a secretarial degree when she traveled to Tanzania to begin her study and was able to change our most basic assumptions about chimps and the animal world. As today’s teens stand ready to take on the world, what might they accomplish?

TWG Arianne Olarig with Mr. H, Dr. Jane's constant companion

Dr. Jane has always recognized the power of youth to change the world, which led her to found Roots & Shoots, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Founded on the core values of knowledge, compassion and action, members of Roots & Shoots design their own projects to assist animals, the environment and the human community. The creativity of youth results in a stunning variety of projects all over the world. Here at the zoo, our Teen Wild Guides can claim to be one of the largest independent Roots & Shoots groups in the United States, with projects like the Asian Animal Festival, animal enrichment, and countless hours of visitor education under their belts. At a recent Wildlife Conservation Network Expo, they were recognized by their idol, when Dr. Jane Goodall herself asked them to stand and be applauded by an audience that had gathered to hear her speak.

And so, as we look back in this momentous year for Goodall, Gombe and the chimps, I raise my glass to Dr. Jane, along with all the future Dr. Janes that she inspires each and every day.

Hairy People

by | March 8th, 2010

Chimpanzee, Photo Courtesy of Oakland Zoo

Why are chimpanzees so fascinating to us? Is it because they are so much like us, sharing 98 percent of our DNA? Does this cause people to minimize their wildness? Or is it the reason we forget entirely that they are inherently wild animals? Does our propensity to anthropomorphize diminish our respect for these majestic primates?
According to a 2008 study published in the journal Science, it does. The results of that study indicated that the frequency with which we see chimpanzees in movies, TV, and commercials leads the general public to believe that chimps are not endangered. In fact, they are listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red list. Chimpanzees are already extinct in 4 of the 25 countries in their natural range. Since the 20th century, the estimated chimpanzee population in the wild has been reduced by a staggering 70-80 percent.

Chimpanzees in captivity however, are another story. More than 2000 chimps live in captivity right here in the US. Half of those are in biomedical research and about a quarter of them live in sanctuaries. Only 12 percent of chimps living in the US live in AZA accredited zoos. That leaves nearly 250 chimps in unaccredited facilities or private ownership. In fact, there are over 100 chimps documented as private pets in the US.

How did we get to this point? While the IUCN may list chimps as endangered, it has no recourse for individual countries. Each country makes their own list of endangered species that are protected by their local laws. Chimps in the wild are threatened by habitat destruction and bush meat consumption, but it is all too easy to point the finger at a country halfway across the world. We can and should support these far away places. The Oakland Zoo has made a huge impact by supporting the Budongo Snare Removal Project.

Chimpanzee

However, there are still 2000 chimpanzees in the US, and they didn’t get here by accident. Chimpanzees are the only species that our own government has double listed in our endangered species laws. This is confusing because the United States government classifies WILD chimps as “endangered” and CAPTIVE chimps as “threatened.” This means captive chimps are not afforded the same protection under federal law that every other endangered species receives. Therefore, private breeders are selling chimps to unsuspecting families as pets. Chimps are dressed up in clothes for our entertainment in movies and TV.  Because chimpanzees are portrayed this way, many people lack the understanding and appreciation for one of the world’s most intelligent animals.

As an AZA accredited zoo, the Oakland Zoo participate s in the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP). Recently, the chair of the Chimp SSP began an ambitious project to document ALL chimpanzees living in the US and educate the public about their plight, not only in the wild, but here in our own country. The website, www.chimpcare.org, is not only educational, but gives us, as consumers the power to make choices in our daily lives that will affect how chimps are treated here, in our own backyards. Chimpanzees are not just hairy people; they are majestic, magnificent animals that deserve dignity and respect.