Conservation Partners and Projects
At Reid Park Zoo we are actively involved with conservation programs around the world. With help from you, we are able to address a wide range of issues that impact animals in the wild. Here are a few of the in-situ (in the wild) projects we are working on with our colleagues now:
Tanzania Conservation and Science Program
Reid Park Zoo has had a personal relationship with Charles and Lara Foley over the past several years. Their in-situ conservation efforts related to African elephants have been inspirational. Most recently, their work related to creating corridors for elephants to move outside the park has been of interest. They have found new ways to interface with local people and create a community based approach to protect the elephants.
The largest remaining populations of giant anteaters live in the grasslands and forests of Brazil’s Cerrado habitat. This habitat is being disrupted due to rapid agricultural development and the building of roads. Giant anteaters are the animals that are most frequently killed on these roads. The Anteaters and Highways project will work to provide a better understanding as to why this is happening and work to prevent anteater roadway mortality.
Kids can learn more about how Zoo’s are helping conserve anteaters by listening to the story, “Why Did the Anteater Cross the Road.”
Through the IUCN’s Tapir Specialist Group, the Baird’s Tapir Project is working to protect important tapir habitat throughout Nicaragua’s forests. Increased human activity such as illegal logging and cattle ranching in protected areas have severely decreased forest habitat. The Baird’s Tapir Project is working with local communities to protect habitat by continued research on the tapir, training future wildlife biologists, community outreach and establishing an indigenous forest ranger program. You can learn more about this project here.
Reid Park Zoo is proud to support research through the University of Arizona, in the Chingaza Massif region of Colombia, to learn about Andean bears to protect them and their habitat. As humans move into Andean bear habitat, less space and food are available for the bears, increasing conflicts between bears and humans. This research will help determine what habitat is used by Andean bears and also work to decrease human- bear conflict. Funds from Reid Park Zoo have helped purchased wildlife cameras used for this study.
IEF supports conservation, education and research of the world’s elephants with a commitment to affect positive change through the facilitation of elephant conservation and sound scientific investigation resulting in the protection of elephants for future generations. The IEF is interested in projects that:
- provide technical, financial and administrative support for management and protection programs for elephant species in their range states.
- provide assistance in managing protected strongholds or zones in natural habitats.
- provide assistance in developing captive propagation and research programs in countries of origin of the elephant species.
- provide assistance in developing captive propagation and research programs ex situ.
- contribute to and participate in the formulation and implementation of a Global Captive Action Plan for elephant species.
- participate in and cooperate with the international captive propagation program and existing regional organizations.
In response to the global crisis in rhino conservation, the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) protects particularly threatened rhino populations in the wild, while also supporting management of and research on captive populations to improve the chances for long-term survival of all rhino species. IRF operates in situ (in nature) programs in Asia and Africa targeted to the rhino species most in need of and most appropriate for intensive protection and management. In ex situ (in captivity) programs, IRF facilitates management and sponsors research with the ultimate objective of helping captive populations become truly viable and hence an integral part of conservation strategies for rhinos.
The giant armadillo is the largest of the armadillo species but very little is known about this endangered animal. Using radio transmitters, camera traps, burrow surveys, resource mapping and interviews, this project is successfully establishing the first long-term ecological study of the giant armadillo in the Pantanal. Recently, the project has started to expand to other armadillos species and giant anteaters that share habitat with giant armadillos in the Pantanal.
Local wildlife rehabilitation
Reid Park Zoo supports local wildlife rehabilitators, who care for injured, sick, distressed or orphaned wild animals. Their goal is to rehabilitate animals so that they are able to survive on their own, and then be released back into the wild.
The vaquita is a critically endangered porpoise species that lives in the Sea of Cortez, less than 400 miles from Tucson. The latest scientific research estimates the population to have fewer than 30 individuals, which means the vaquita is in severe risk of going extinct! Reid Park Zoo is working with other zoos and aquariums to spread the message and help protect this animal from extinction through an Association of Zoos and Aquariums program called SAFE, Saving Animals From Extinction. Read the latest news about the vaquita project here.