Beads for Chimps

Conservation in 

About the Organization

Beads for chimps is a collaboration of Community Action Project and Oakland Zoo,  selling beautiful handmade paper beads to raise money for conservation! The beads are made by  Community Action Project (CAP), a group of women living in Uganda who make  crafts from sustainable materials. Oakland Zoo first met Margaret and the women of  CAP when we visited Uganda on an EcoTrip. We were so inspired by their story  that we purchased jewelry to be sold in the Oakland Zoo gift shop.  Since then the partnership has evolved into a program where zoo guests can stop by a table and make their own jewelry while learning about  conservation.

The Conservation Challenge

The Illegal Wildlife Trade

The illegal wildlife trade is one of the top most destructive and illicit transnational crimes of our times, along with drugs, arms and human trafficking. Illegal wildlife trafficking, for the pet industry and for products and souvenirs, has a devastating impact on animal welfare, species conservation, and ecosystems. It is a major cause of species extinction, second only to habitat loss. Ninety percent of animals smuggled for the pet trade die in transit, and those that survive need constant care and attention.

Harvesting of Turtle Eggs

The Pacific leatherback turtle is nearly extinct with only 1,438 mature individuals remaining in the entire Pacific ocean. Despite their endangered status, virtually all sea turtle nests in Guatemala are harvested by poachers and the eggs sold as a supposed aphrodisiac.

Conservation Approach

Beads  for chimps helps chimpanzees in many ways. Margaret and her fellow co-workers  use recycled magazines and newspapers to make the beads in order to reduce their impact on the  environment. An important aspect of the Community Action Project is  respecting the environment - they live near Kibale National Park, which boasts the densest  population of primates in Africa, as well as many other species of wildlife.  Reducing trash and making a statement about recycling and reusing helps all  the animals in the area! Most importantly, all of the profits from selling  the beads goes directly to the Budongo Snare Removal Project, an Oakland Zoo  partner in Uganda that uses innovative community programs to help wild  chimpanzees.

Oakland Zoo Takes Action

California Trail

Oakland Zoo's California Trail includes bison alongside other native Californian species. These bison will breed naturally, and their offspring will be returned to Blackfeet tribal land in Montana to strengthen the wild herd. Conservation education is also an important component of the California Trail.

Outreach and Education

Oakland Zoo aims to use our immense access to the public to help wildlife. We are enthusiastic about the return of bison to Blackfeet tribal lands, and we show this by sharing information about this charismatic species - as well as what people can do to help them - with our guests.


Oakland Zoo will assist the Iinnii Initiative with the cultivation of ecotourism programs, creating nature-based, sustainable jobs and inspiring learning and connection to bison and the Blackfeet Nation heritage.

You Can Take Action Too

You can stop by the table, located in the rainforest area of the zoo - we are out most weekend afternoons when the weather is nice. You can also buy beads in larger amounts from us, and give them out as party favors, host your own bead bazaar, use them as a classroom activity, or many other possibilities! Contact Shelby for more details.