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Macaws are flying, flamboyant, reminders of the outrageous beauty and diversity of our planet, especially our precious rainforests. Much of Earth’s biodiversity resides amongst these lush ecosystems, from scarlet macaws to spider monkeys to margays, and these dense forests are crucial to the overall health of our planet. Sadly, rainforest animals are threatened by human driven habitat destruction, as well as the illegal wildlife trade, one of the most destructive and illicit transnational crimes of our times. Oakland Zoo is committed to a future where macaws and their rainforests are protected, and the entire breathtaking array of species that live there thrive into the future.
An illegal multibillion-dollar industry, wildlife trafficking is a major cause of species extinction, second only to habitat loss. This horrible, illegal trade benefits criminal networks and corrupt governments alike—all at the expense of innocent wild animals. Global demand for exotic wildlife pets and products result in indescribable suffering for animals caught in the trade. It also is devastating to overall populations of endangered species and their habitats, like the rainforest.
90% of animals smuggled for the pet trade die in transit, and those that survive need demanding rehabilitation. For example, the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala's Peten region is the largest intact tropical rainforest in Central America, home to an incredible variety of wildlife. Unfortunately, it is also a hotspot for illegal wildlife trafficking.
Habitat loss in our rainforests is often the result of spreading human populations. With a growing number of people living around protected forest areas, there is an increased need for food and wood. Wood is used to cook meals and heat homes. The demand for food and wood results in illegal timber harvesting and deforestation for agriculture - people need to grow food and house their livestock. Unfortunately, rainforest wildlife suffer the consequences associated with population growth because many cannot survive when their homes are destroyed or their habitat shrinks. It is a problem that could eventually erase many species of rainforest animals.
The zoo supports the mission of ARCAS through an annual partnership grant which supports their work to rehabilitate and release animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Oakland Zoo has helped support the creation of the new ARCAS Biodiversity Education and Interpretation Center in Guatemala. The new center engages both travelers and the community to stop the illegal pet trade before it starts. Oakland Zoo also sponsors a large and lush habitat for unreleasable jaguars and radio collars for ocelots, scarlet macaws, spider monkeys. The radio collars are used for animal releases and tracking purposes.
Oakland Zoo shares conservation issues facing Central American species and empowering solutions to conserve them to the public through a variety of channels: Docents and Volunteers, Teen Wild Guides, Education Programs, Events, Exhibits, Campaigns, Keeper Talks, and media stories. The zoo is committed to combating the Illegal Wildlife Trade with a comprehensive campaign to ensure our community is part of the solution: #Endthetrade: Illegal Wildlife Trade. Additionally, Oakland Zoo’s Say No to Plastic Pledge has a vision to keep all habitats free of plastic pollution. Plastic causes horrific problems and even death to wildlife throughout the world. By educating zoo guests about plastic pollution, we are trying to raise awareness and spread change.
Oakland Zoo provides yearly professional development training for field partners, offering them a myriad of staff skills and resources to enhance conservation efforts. The zoo has sent staff with expertise in education, veterinary training, conservation, media, and animal care to ARCAS in Guatemala - to assist with rehabilitation of wildlife rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.
Oakland Zoo offers Town Zoo Beer made by Ale Industries in Oakland, CA where proceeds from the sale of Town Zoo Beer directly support ARCAS and efforts to prevent the illegal wildlife trade in Guatemala. Shade-Grown Coffee is sold at zoo cafes, ensuring that the coffee buzz enjoyed by patrons does not devastate rainforests with deforested agriculture.
Oakland Zoo’s Eco-Travel to Guatemala focuses on ARCAS, providing authentic hands-on work - chopping food for diets, cleaning enclosures, and creating special projects that support crucial conservation work. Oakland Zoo offers travel participants a unique glimpse into the complexities of conservation issues and solutions with the aim to positively impact our partner projects, our travelers, and wildlife.
Oakland Zoo is committed to animal welfare and offers a Forever Home to animals in need due to injury, parental loss due to car strikes or fires, the illegal pet trade, human-wildlife conflict, or other challenges. Some of Oakland Zoos macaws were once pets. When their owners realized that keeping them in a small enclosure wasn’t giving the macaws the best home possible, Oakland Zoo was able to help by giving the macaws a beautiful, spacious, flyable habitat and forever home.
VOLUNTEER at ARCAS! Go to their website to learn more about their international volunteer program.
EXPERIENCE an Eco-Travel trip to Guatemala and visit ARCAS to learn more about the project first hand.
TAKE Oakland Zoo’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Pledge to save animals from the exotic pet trade.
SAY NO to plastic and take Oakland Zoo’s Say No to Plastic Pledge to save marine wildlife such as sea turtles.
ADOPT by symbolically adopting a Jaguar and support the jaguars in the wild.
IMBIBE and purchase Town Zoo Beer for your next gathering.
ADOPT, DON’T SHOP and do your research before getting your next pet. Look for animals that need to be adopted or rescued. Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue or the SPCA are good resources for people considering rescued birds.
DONATE to Oakland Zoo’s funding efforts that directly support ARCAS.