POWELL, Ohio – There is nothing like watching Beco the Asian elephant calf frolicking in his habitat under the watchful eye of mother, Phoebe. In addition to providing the best possible care for animals at the Zoo, another program collaborates with conservationists across the globe to secure a future for elephants in the wild. In 2009, the Zoo’s Conservation Grants Program and Partners in Conservation awarded 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.
Through long-term partnerships with dedicated conservationists from Belize to Borneo, the Zoo provides funds for field research, equipment, training, educational materials and community support—all with the goal of saving endangered species. Many of the grants travel no farther than Ohio’s borders as the Zoo supports work on declining amphibians and critically endangered freshwater mussels.
When Polar Frontiers opens at the Zoo in spring 2010, world-renowned scientists working with Polar Bears International will be saving wild bears in Alaska with grants from the Zoo’s Conservation Fund. Zoo tigers play in the Ohio snow with huge boomer balls, while conservationists working for two decades in the Russian Far East receive support to protect the remaining 450 wild Siberian tigers—unlocking secrets of tiger behavior and discovering ways to mitigate human-tiger conflict.
The Zoo is a leader in the support for conservation of great apes in Africa and Asia, and founded the Gorilla Workshop in 1990. In 1995, the Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation conference (ZACC) was launched at the Columbus Zoo. The bi-annual event promotes the role of zoos and aquariums in supporting conservation activities worldwide. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has recognized the Columbus Zoo with International Conservation Awards, most recently for its long-term partnership with the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project based in Malaysian Borneo. In 2009, the Zoo hosted delegates from 12 African countries for the meeting of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA).
For more information about applying for a Columbus Zoo conservation grant, contact Field Conservation Coordinator Rebecca Rose at Rebecca.Rose@columbuszoo.org or 614-724-3409.
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.