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Columbus Zoo Assists Cameroon Sanctuary

Media Alert: Monday, February 08, 2010

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2010

CONTACT:
Jennifer Wilson
Communications Manager
POWELL, Ohio - More than 1,000 endangered African grey parrots were delivered to the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon last week after being confiscated as part of a $1.5 million illegal shipment at the Douala Airport.
 
The shipment—that was scheduled to be loaded on to Ethiopian Airlines—was the largest on record and is the third major bust of African grey parrots in Cameroon in the past two years.  The Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA), in conjunction with Cameroonian law enforcement officials, coordinated the bust. The parrots were destined for Kuwait International Airport and the Bahrain International Airport.
 
Limbe staff members are scrambling to treat the parrots, many of which are injured or ill. Forty-seven parrots were found dead at the bottom of the crates upon arrival and another 30 did not survive the first day.
 
“It is crazy,” said Limbe manager Simone de Vries. “It makes you sick to see how the parrots were packed in the boxes, the weaker ones trampled by the strongest.”
 
Because of an Emergency Conservation Fund established several years ago, Zoo officials were able to react quickly upon learning of the urgent need for funding to feed the parrots, provide medical care, and build additional enclosures. The Zoo will provide a grant of $6,000.
 
In the months to come, the healthy strong birds with undamaged wings will be released back to the wild. The other birds will stay at Limbe until completely rehabilitated.
 
“The staff at Limbe will save many of these birds with 24/7 care. However, these large confiscations create an enormous financial burden for sanctuaries like Limbe. Providing funds quickly is one way a Zoo in Ohio can make a difference for endangered wildlife in Africa,” said Rebecca Rose, Field Conservation Coordinator at the Zoo.
 
In 2009, the Zoo’s Conservation Grants Program and Partners in Conservationawarded more than $1 million in program support for 70 conservation projects in 35 countries.  Over the past five years, the Zoo has distributed $4 million in support.  This money is raised from restricted donations, conservation fundraisers, and coins donated by Zoo visitors.
 
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is open 363 days a year 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. after Labor Day.  General admission is $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 2 to 9 and seniors 60+.  Children under 2 and Columbus Zoo members are free.  Zoo admission is half-price during the months of January and February 2010.  The Zoo was named the #1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.)  For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit www.columbuszoo.org