From the Editor
Before there were mammals, birds, snakes or even crocodiles, turtles were living
side-by-side with their planet-mates—the dinosaurs. Turtles have been on earth since
the Triassic Period, over 220 million years ago. Their shells make them unique to the
point that some scientists feel they should occupy their own Class of vertebrates—
Chelonia—separate from lizards and snakes. There is nothing like a turtle.
In spite of their exceptional survival skills, turtles (including tortoises) are now at
the top of the list of species disappearing from our planet. Partners in Amphibian
and Reptile Conservation (PARC) reports that 47% of turtle species are identified
as “threatened” worldwide. Their plight is part of the ongoing worldwide loss of
biodiversity, including about 30% of amphibians, 25% of mammals, and 12% of birds
in similar straits.
Year of the Turtle 2011 is an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues facing turtles
(habitat loss and degradation and overexploitation for food, traditional medicines,
and pets) and increase our collective conservation action. The last act of the Zoo’s
Conservation Committee in December 2010 was to create the Turtle Conservation
For more information about 2011 Year of the Turtle, visit: Fund. The Zoo will work with partners like the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) to support
www.parcplace.org/yearoftheturtle.htm priority field projects in 2011 and beyond. Read about a recent turtle rescue and how
the Zoo responded through the Emergency Conservation Fund on page 17.
In 2010, we joined Polar Bears International (PBI) to become a partner in an exciting
Note from the editor new project—the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) located in
March 28, 2011 Manitoba Canada. The IPBCC is a rescue facility, research center, and international
As this issue of Commitment to Conservation goes hub for education and public awareness on polar bears and their Arctic environment.
to press, we are pleased to announce a grant from See an update on the Zoo’s support for polar bear conservation on page 27.
the Zoo’s newly created Turtle Conservation Fund
awarded to the Turtle Survival Alliance. The funds We hope you enjoy the inspiring stories of on-the-ground conservation from Congo
will create breeding ponds to save the critically to Zimbabwe and at home in the Northern Rockies in this year’s Commitment to
endangered Sundarbans mangrove terrapin from Conservation report. Many thanks to all of our supporters—your generosity makes our
extinction. stewardship possible.
Conservation Funds for 2010 Sincerely,
Board Allocated Funds ................................................................... $566,000
Partners In Conservation (PIC) ....................................................... $289,037
Individual Donations ......................................................................... $97,322
Sulatalu Fund for Great Apes ........................................................... $58,000
Wine for Wildlife Donations ............................................................. $35,990
TOTAL .......................................................................................... $1,046,349 Rebecca Rose
Field Conservation Coordinator
To view the Conservation Report online,
please visit contribute.columbuszoo.org/ A toast to Bill and Chris
conservation/conservation_reports/default.aspx This issue of Commitment to Conservation is
dedicated to Bill Goldman and Chris Godley. Bill
and Chris received the Board Leadership Award
in 2010 for their roles in launching and cultivating
Wine for Wildlife and advancing the Zoo’s role in
Photos courtesy of Turtle Survival Alliance. global conservation. See full article on page 26.
Left - Dr. Lisa Dabeck, founder and director of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, visited the Zoo in January. Center left - The lush cloud forests of Papua New Guinea
are home to the Matschie’s tree kangaroo. Center right - Found only on the Huon Peninsula, Matschie’s tree kangaroos are shy, arboreal marsupials. Center photos courtesy of
Nic Bishop. Far right - The Zoo has supported Lisa’s work since 1998, including providing education materials to village schools. Photos courtesy of the TKCP.
Commitment to CONservATiON The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Report
Is There Room for Magnificence? .......................... pages 2 - 4 Don’t Let Their Tough Exterior Fool You .......... page 17
Long-term planning is needed to save the smart, social pachyderms of Borneo Turtles need us now
Small But Mighty .............................................................. page 5 Terrible Trade ........................................................... pages 18 - 19
With the sun on their chest, honey bears inch towards a better life A triumph and a disappointing turn in Congo
No Time to Waste ...................................................... pages 6 - 7 Standing Strong and True ................................... pages 20 - 21
Commitment to frogs continues in a Latin American hotspot Projects with heart work wonders in Rwanda
Perfect Social Harmony ............................................ pages 8 - 9 Wide Open Spaces .................................................. pages 22 - 23
Can people take a page from the painted dog playbook? The Wilds offers a living laboratory and unique experiences in nature
Ohio’s Wild Treasures .......................................... pages 10 - 11 Primate Pioneers ...................................................... pages 24 - 25
Kind hearts and caring hands mobilize to rescue thousands Bonobos can go home again
A Dog in Sheep’s Clothing ................................. pages 12 - 13 Big Fun Under the Big Tent ...................................... page 26
Focused canines save domestic and wild alike Raise your glass for endangered wildlife
Cowboys for Conservation .................................... pages 14 - 15 Happy Birthday Polar Bears ..................................... page 27
Riders armed with telemetry and great instincts avert conflict Honoring our girls through support for their wild cousins
Feathered Friends ............................................................ page 16 Commitment to Conservation ............................. pages 28 - 29
A favorite writer draws a flock of bird-lovers to the Whittier Peninsula Projects funded by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
“The Asian elephant requires much larger areas of natural range than any other terrestrial mammal in Asia. In order
to coexist with humans, we need to move from short-term mitigation measures to long-term land use planning.”
Elephants are record-breakers in every sense; from their enormous forms to their impossibly long (22-month) gestation
period, everything about an elephant looms large. Their legendary appetite (an adult can consume up to 300 pounds of
vegetation in a single day) is understandable since their plants-only diet must make up in quantity what it lacks in energy.
Seeking out all of these leaves, stems, fruit, grasses and bark requires an elephant to move a lot, sleep a little, and cover
a large territory. With much of the available habitat converted to farmland, elephants turn to domestic crops,
with serious and often deadly consequences for elephants and people.
For a team of elephant conservationists in Borneo, there is much to learn and much to gain from
documenting the behavior of these intelligent endangered animals. They are working towards a
plan that will “restore more harmonious relationships between the local communities and the
Photo by Paul Swen.
The disruption of
migration routes along
the Kinabatangan River
has forced elephant
families to move through
village orchards and
oil palm plantations in
search of food.
New tracking collar
technology provides 24
GPS (Global Positioning
System) locations per
day and information is
downloaded through a
local telephone network –
a vast improvement over
previous collars. Suitable habitat available to the elephants is decreasing while the population itself is
increasing. Well-maintained electrical fences are the most effective method for
preventing destruction of crops and possible harm to the elephants.
The Bornean elephant (an Asian elephant subspecies) is the most been gazetted as a Wildlife Sanctuary and is recognized as an area of high
endangered member of the Proboscidea family with only 1,200 to 1,500 importance for many protected species—orangutans, proboscis monkeys,
surviving on the island of Borneo—the world’s third largest island. Many of clouded leopards, more than 300 species of birds, and countless other
the animals are living in small, fragmented populations—making the need for animals and plants). The collaring team included individuals from the Sabah
conservation action even more urgent. The remaining elephants live mainly Wildlife Department, the Elephant Conservation Unit of the French non-
in eastern Sabah (Malaysian Borneo), and the importance of learning more governmental organization HUTAN, scientists from WWF, and researchers
about their behavior, movements, and family structure, was identified by the from Danau Girang Field Centre. The team plans to follow the same
Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). elephants for at least two to three years. Only long-term data on the same
individuals will allow the team to understand how the elephants are using the
Launched in 2007 by Dr. Benoit Goossens, director of the Danau Girang Field Kinabatangan and adapting their movements to human pressure and habitat
Centre, the project (Satellite-tracking and social behavior of the Bornean fragmentation and disturbance.
elephant in Kinabatangan) seeks to provide crucial biological information on
the Bornean elephant to be included in the Bornean Elephant Management Following the herd
Plan for Sabah. This information will contribute to the long-term conservation The Kinabatangan elephant herd is monitored daily by the Elephant
management of the species in Borneo. Conservation Unit (ECU) and Malaysian Ph.D. student Nurzhafarina Othman,
using satellite positions and VHF-receivers. Ms. Othman works with GIS
satellite tracking: it takes a TeAM (Geographic Information System) experts from HUTAN to produce maps
In July 2008, three elephants were fitted with satellite collars in the showing the movements of the elephants with collars.
Kinabatangan. (The Lower Kinabatangan River Floodplain has recently 3
One of the most important aspects of the project is the opportunity for historic migration routes and forced to enter villages in search of food. Local
capacity building. At the end of the project, Nurzhafarina Othman will people become the victims of these conflicts and have to face frequent
become one of the most experienced elephant biologists and will play a destruction of their food crops and damage to their buildings. They come to
leadership role in the conservation of the Bornean elephant in Sabah. Staff see the elephant—a globally endangered species—as a pest that raids their
from HUTAN’s Elephant Conservation Unit also receive training in behavioral crops.
ecology through their involvement in the project.
For this reason, elephant conservation in Kinabatangan must encompass a
From Conflict to Compromise two-pronged approach, focusing on both human-elephant conflict mitigation
The importance of local conservation leadership cannot be overstated. More and field research to unlock the secrets of the elephants’ behavior and
than 80 percent of the original landscape along the Kinabatangan River was movements. The development and long-term support of these efforts are
recently converted to large oil palm plantations, resulting in severe habitat critical to the survival of these fascinating island elephants.
loss and a drastic increase in conflicts between people and animals. As large
oil palm estates erect electric fences, elephants are diverted from their
The Kinabatangan elephants rarely try to harm humans, but
they become habituated to certain deterrent methods like
noise canons. Researchers have witnessed an increase in
mock-charges, especially during daylight hours.
Dr. Benoit Goossens is the Director of
Danau Girang Field Centre in Sabah.
Nurzhafarina Othman (right) is a
Malaysian Ph.D. student conducting
the social behavior study on the
Bornean elephants in Kinabatangan.
All photos courtesy of Benoit Goossens
4 and Marc Ancrenaz.
Sun bears in Southeast Asia face many threats been kept illegally with inadequate care.
throughout their range. People are rapidly This was their first step in a process that
destroying their forest habitat. Poachers hunt will allow them to return to the wild. The
them for their body parts and fur. Some farmers bears adapted to their new home quickly—
kill them on site because they eat crops like oil sniffing and tapping the floor, then exploring
palm, coconuts, and bananas. Females are killed their nest boxes and water basins. Enrichment
and their cubs taken as pets. The population has items were added to relieve boredom and
declined by 30% in the past 30 years. help develop climbing and foraging skills.
After integrating the bears into three groups
and teaching them about electric fencing,
Hope for the smallest Bears
the doors were opened to the large, forested
In the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island
of Borneo, sun bears are protected and it is
illegal to kill them. Still, many young orphaned
As highly intelligent individuals—each bear
and confiscated bears are held in small cages
reacted differently. One female put her nose out
and deplorable conditions. An innovative
and “tested” the air, but did not venture out. Photo courtesy of Siew te Wong.
project—the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation
A male, Om, stepped out tentatively with two
Centre (BSBCC), will provide hope for these
paws touching a ramp leading to the ground.
bears through a holistic solution—combining
Days later, he went all out, running and barking
improved facilities for rescuing and housing
with excitement—eagerly exploring his new
bears, programs to increase public awareness,
forest. The youngest, Surya, went outside with
her caregiver and played heartily, exploring
small nearby trees.
The first phase is complete and includes a new
bear house with indoor quarters and large
In July, the Wildlife Department rescued seven
outdoor areas in primary and secondary forest.
more bears, including a cub. The BSBCC is
In April, an international team comprised of
committed to helping all of the animals adjust to
BSBCC staff, Sabah Wildlife Department staff
life in the wild. The next steps for rehabilitation A young bear at the Bornean Sun Bear
and volunteers from Australia, Cambodia,
include learning to find food and use trees Conservation Centre has a chance to return to
Holland, Singapore and the U.S., gathered
for shelter. The goal is to arm the bears with the wild following rehabilitation at the Centre.
in Sabah to perform health checks and move
all of the skills and confidence they need, and
twelve young bears from their temporary
eventually return them to their natural forest
holding to the new bear house. All twelve were
home. Visit sunbears.wildlifedirect.org for more
confiscated from private owners where they had 5
information. Background photo by Allision Martin.
During 2008 Year of the Frog, alarming statistics were brought to
light by conservationists around the globe. Three-thousand—one-
half—of our planet’s 6,000 amphibian species are threatened with
extinction. The Amphibian Ark describes the crisis as “the greatest
species conservation challenge in the history of humanity.”
The decline can be attributed to three forces: habitat loss,
environmental contaminants, and emerging infectious diseases.
Amphibian chytrid fungus is one such disease now pandemic in
distribution. Infection by this pathogen can lead to the lethal
condition known as chytridiomycosis.
In late 2007, the Zoo established the Amphibian Conservation
Fund, so far providing funds for field projects in eight countries.
A crisis of this magnitude requires a long-term commitment, and
the Zoo will continue connecting with researchers throughout the
world who are conducting urgent work.
Jonathan Kolby, senior herpetologist with Operation Wallacea,
launched a novel investigation in Cusuco National Park in 2009.
He receives support from the Zoo’s Amphibian Conservation Fund.
Climbing into the
Jonathan Kolby collects
water from bromeliad
pools for his research in
Cusuco National Park.
Miniature radio transmitters are used to track
amphibians through challenging terrain. Secured
with a fine cotton thread, the rubber waist belt
will eventually break and fall off in the event the
frog cannot be recaptured.
Jonathan Kolby studies
amphibians in Cusuco National
Park, Honduras. The Park is
recognized by the Alliance for
Zero Extinction as an important Honduras
hotspot of amphibian diversity.
Fleischmann’s glass frog, Hyalinobatrachium All photos courtesy of Jonathan Kolby.
Up in the Air
Previously, researchers considered the chytrid fungus to be confined to reach the canopy; amphibians, arthropods, wind/rain, and human movement.
terrestrial water sources, so they focused on the plight of amphibians with They will also evaluate the risk of extinction faced by each of the National
life stages in rivers and lakes. However, in 2008, Kolby’s team was alarmed Park’s 16 endangered and critically endangered amphibian species. The
to discover infected arboreal (tree-dwelling) amphibians in Cusuco National lack of these crucial pieces of information seriously impedes the success of
Park—raising concern for many critically endangered frogs. In 2009, any long-term conservation efforts. Jonathan’s investigation will strengthen
researchers began to perform the first risk analysis for the threat of exposure understanding of the presence and dynamics of this devastating fungus,
to arboreal amphibians and the possibility for an arboreal epidemic to occur. using the Cusuco National Park as a model system.
They discovered that tree-living amphibians are indeed exposed to the
fungus, and that it can remain virulent and infectious even outside of rivers Diversity Hotbed
and lakes. This was clearly demonstrated by the infection of tadpoles they Half of the world’s amphibian diversity occurs in Latin America, and half of
tested that were living in small pools of water contained inside bromeliad Honduras’ 41 endemic (found nowhere else) amphibians have declining
plants growing in the canopy—600 meters away from the nearest stream populations or have already disappeared. Unexplained population declines
habitat. How the fungus arrived in these aerial pools is a mystery. The fact have now occurred within the boundaries of Honduran national parks, and
that it could remain viable and virulent along a non-aquatic pathway is may mean widespread chytrid epidemics. In 2007, critically endangered
alarming. Inside some bromeliads pools—even though the team detected frogs in Cusuco were found to be infected, and the Park has now been
environmental parameters believed to suppress the fungus (low pH value established as a long-term study site. Cusuco National Park is recognized
indicating acidic conditions)—amphibians were still found infected. Although by the Alliance for Zero Extinction for the critical habitat it provides to six
many facets of the chytrid fungus have been intensively studied over the past endemic species. The Park is at high altitude and holds isolated fragments of
10 years, the pathways of global and regional dispersal are unknown. cloud forest. In spite of its designation, Cusuco is declining in size and quality
of habitat. The research team has encountered this firsthand, witnessing
2010: A Year of investigation intentionally set forest fires and illegal logging. The Park provides critical
Mounting evidence suggests that the pathways of dispersal and distribution habitat to 16 endangered and critically endangered amphibians—including
of the fungus is very complex. Jonathan and his team are currently studying the rediscovered Miles’ robber frog (Craugastor milesi), a species previously
the three-dimensional distribution of the fungus in the Cusuco National Park, listed as extinct. The results of this study will help guide and prioritize
the mechanisms by which it disperses, and the environmental reservoirs of Honduran national amphibian conservation efforts.
disease. They will examine four possible scenarios whereby the fungus can 7
African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), also called painted dogs, are the
most endangered large carnivore in sub-Saharan Africa, and the
second most endangered large carnivore on the African continent.
(The Ethiopian wolf is the most endangered.) Sustainable populations
live in only eight of the thirty-nine countries where they once existed,
and researchers estimate that only 5,750 individuals are left in the
wild. Their survival is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation,
death and injury from wire snares, disease (especially rabies), loss of
prey species, human persecution and competition with lions.
For the past two years, Dr. Rosemary Groom, Project Manager for the
Lowveld Wild Dog Project in Zimbabwe, has received support from
the Zoo for her work with wild dogs. The project is part of a wider
effort to conserve globally significant populations of wild dogs in the
Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), which
encompasses parts of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.
This fragile species is threatened in the Zimbabwean part of the
GLTFCA, largely because of habitat loss that continues to threaten
wildlife areas in the region. Fragmentation of habitat, resulting in loss
of genetic connectivity between sub-populations, leads to genetic
stagnation and increased vulnerability to local extinction. In some
areas, snaring causes the highest number of adult wild dog deaths.
In the Savé Valley Conservancy (SVC) between August 2001 and
July 2009, 84,396 wire snares were removed and at least 6,454 wild
animals were killed. Rabies is also a major threat; an outbreak in
August wiped out an entire breeding pack in the project’s study area.
“ It was a heartbreaking setback. The pack had dropped to
only two individuals, but was just starting to become viable
again when the disease hit.”
In some areas, snaring causes
the highest number of adult
wild dog deaths with more
than 6,000 killed in the Savé Dr. Rosemary
Valley Conservancy between Groom, Project
2001 and 2009. The project Manager for the
focuses on keeping den site Lowveld Wild Dog
areas and core home range Project, listens to
areas free from wire snares. a signal from a
collared dog. The
Project scouts and Rosemary during
the Savé Valley her Ph.D. work
Conservator stay with the Maasai in
with a recently Kenya.
collared dog. All photos courtesy of
Through focused research (monitoring wild dog packs and investigating To protect areas with the highest densities of wild dogs, the project will focus
lack of genetic connectivity between populations) and three, targeted on keeping den site areas and core home range areas free from wire snares.
conservation activities, (anti-poaching, vaccination campaigns and Funds from the Zoo will provide equipment and training for anti-poaching
environmental education), the project will mitigate the major threats to wild scouts and the coordination of area-wide sweeps of snares.
dogs in Zimbabwe while promoting the effectiveness of the Greater Limpopo
Transfrontier Conservation Area. This work benefits wild dogs and many other A wide range of educational activities will expand in the coming year – with
species in the area. several local environmental education officers employed to travel to key
schools for teacher training and distribution of materials. In addition, the
A portion of the Zoo grant supports trained and experienced local trackers project supports Zimbabwean university students with Master’s and Ph.D.
who monitor the wild dogs. Through radio telemetry, camera traps and projects, and educates local land managers and game ranchers – many of
observations at den sites, trackers can understand pack dynamics and litter which still have very negative attitudes towards wild dogs.
sizes, and allow the project to build a photographic identification database
for all pack members. Genetic samples – blood, tissue and hair, are collected Wild dogs are highly intelligent and intensely social animals. They do
from dogs found dead or dogs that have been immobilized to treat an injury. everything together, and never leave an injured pack member behind.
These samples are analyzed to show levels of genetic diversity within a Researchers have described their interactions as “perfect social harmony.”
population. Pack members rarely fight among themselves, and they are famous for their
elaborate and affectionate greeting rituals, which involve lots of tail-wagging,
Wild dogs living in close contact with human and domestic dog populations face-licking, leaping and squealing. There is much more to learn about wild
are at risk. Vaccination campaigns are the most effective way of preventing dogs – relatives of jackals, wolves and domestic dogs. Rosemary Groom and
an outbreak of a disease like rabies. In collaboration with the Zimbabwean her team in Zimbabwe are determined to turn things around for the
Wildlife Veterinary Unit, Dr. Groom and her team will vaccinate domestic graceful, misunderstood painted dogs of Africa.
dogs in key wildlife areas within the GLTFCA. The goal is to vaccinate 1,500
domestic dogs living near the boundaries of protected wildlife areas. 9
For more than 25 years, citizens from every county in Ohio have relied on the Ohio
Wildlife Center (OWC) as a unique resource. From assistance with injured and
orphaned wild animals to expertise in human-wildlife conflict mitigation—OWC’s
mission is to foster awareness and appreciation for Ohio’s native wildlife through
rehabilitation, education, and health studies.
Founded in 1984 by Dr. Donald Burton, OWC operates an emergency wildlife hospital
with full veterinary capabilities. Each year, nearly 5,000 ill, injured and orphaned
animals of more than 130 species arrive at the Center. The main causes for admission
include young animals orphaned either due to the mother’s death or to unnecessary
intervention by people who believe young animals they encounter are orphans,
attacks by pet dogs and cats, animals struck by vehicles, and wildlife disease.
Dr. Don Burton releases a juvenile red-
tailed hawk following treatment and
rehabilitation at the OWC.
All photos courtesy of OWC.
The road to recovery • Nature Education Center – The center is open seasonally to the public and
Nearly two hundred OWC volunteers donate over 30,000 hours and provide provides programming through day camps, field trips, and guided tours.
Visitors can view animal exhibits and hike the nature trails.
around-the-clock care 365 days a year. In order to accommodate the volume
of animals in need, OWC utilizes several avenues of care. After any necessary • Outreach - OWC provides education programs to children and adults at
surgery, medication and care to reach stability, an animal will follow one of schools, businesses, and senior centers. These programs feature up-close
four paths: encounters with the Center’s wild animal ambassadors.
• Release – Rehabilitated animals are released back to the wild in accordance • Interpretive and Husbandry Training – OWC’s teen program, Seeds of
with State of Ohio Division of Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife rules and Awareness, Respect & Stewardship (SOARS), is a volunteer and mentoring
regulations. program for students 13 to 17.
• Pre-Release Facility – The Pre-Release Facility (PRF) is a safe haven for animals Wildlife Health studies
that do not need frequent care, but who still need outdoor conditioning prior
By studying the medical problems affecting animals admitted to the
emergency hospital, OWC is uniquely positioned to recognize, diagnose
• Prison Foster Care Program – The Prison Care Program is a unique partnership and report environmental hazards affecting central Ohio communities.
between OWC and two local correctional facilities. The inmates successfully The organization’s staff and volunteer veterinarians and trained wildlife
rehabilitate nearly 1,000 animals each year. Not only does this responsibility rehabilitators are available to offer biologically accurate information to local
help with inmate reform, but the program enables OWC to admit animals that health agencies, municipalities and citizens. OWC has conducted research
may otherwise need to be turned away, due to lack of space and manpower.
and provided valuable data to local agencies on diseases including rabies,
• Home Care Program – OWC has 37 trained volunteers who provide care for West Nile virus and distemper, and has conducted research on the impacts
animals in their homes. Animals enter this program because of a need for of cat predation on native wildlife. OWC offers a professional training ground
medication every hour or two, or they are infants that need to be fed around for veterinarians and veterinary students wishing to learn more about and
the clock. effectively treat wildlife diseases and injuries.
The Hotline is the First Line Humane Wildlife solutions
Many animals brought to OWC’s hospital do not need the assistance of Humane Wildlife Solutions (HWS) was created in 2002 as an extension of
people and have a better chance of survival if they stay in the wild. In an OWC as a fee-for-service program dedicated to implementing non-lethal,
effort to assist citizens with wildlife questions before they bring an animal animal-friendly solutions to human-wildlife conflicts at homes and businesses.
to the hospital, OWC operates a 24-hour hotline monitored by staff and Unlike traditional methods of wildlife control commonly used by pest control
volunteers. Each year, OWC interacts with more than 32,000 citizens via the companies (trapping and euthanizing), HWS uses a variety of non-lethal
Wildlife Hotline. techniques that focus on the use of exclusionary methods and devices that
provide long-term solutions to wildlife problems. All proceeds benefit the
Conservation education Ohio Wildlife Center’s rehabilitation and education programs.
Through community outreach and visits to the 20-acre Nature Education
Center in Powell, Ohio, OWC reaches over 100,000 individuals each year. For more information visit www.ohiowildlifecenter.org
Highlights of OWC education programming include:
A beaver pup receives care
• Hands on the Land – Sponsored by the Delaware Environmental Education at the Ohio Wildlife Center.
Partnership, Hands on the Land is a fourth-grade curriculum that serves 1,500 With their impressive dam
students. building skills, beavers are
among the small group of
• Seasons of Change – To assist teachers in meeting state standards for
animals (including humans)
second-grade science, Seasons of Change workshops offer the opportunity to that can drastically modify their
incorporate winter and spring field trips to OWC’s Nature Education Center. environment to their benefit.
Big buff brown-eyed dogs have become the latest conservation heroes in
The Anatolian shepherd originated in Turkey more than 6,000 years ago
where they protected herds against wolves and bears. Independent
and tough, Anatolians have a superior ability to protect livestock. They
were bred to be the same size and color of the sheep and goats they
guarded in order to blend in with the herd and remain undetected by
predators. Thousands of guardian dogs watch over herds of domestic
animals in Europe, Australia and the U.S., and the Anatolian shepherd
has recently been introduced in Africa. An initial pilot program in 2005
demonstrated their effectiveness on African farmlands, and the Cheetah
Outreach Trust, based in Cape Town, South Africa, is the only non-profit
organization in South Africa that is breeding, placing and monitoring
Anatolian shepherds on livestock farms. The dogs act as a force for non-
lethal predator control, protecting sheep and goats from wild African
carnivores, and saving the lives of these endangered predators in the
Ranging freely across commercial farmlands in South Africa, the graceful
cheetah often comes into conflict with livestock farmers. Sheep, goats
and other domestic animals look like an abundant source of unprotected
food to a cheetah—food they don’t have to expend energy chasing.
Since cheetahs hunt during the day, they are often sighted by farmers,
and wrongly accused of killing more livestock than they do. Nevertheless,
cheetahs – along with many other species—are trapped for removal
or worse; removed by lethal methods of control such as indiscriminate
poisoning, hunting and trapping. Hundreds of years of using these
methods has not been successful in reducing loss of livestock to
predators, but has seriously threatened the survival of one of the most
charismatic species—the cheetah.
[ Page 12 ]
South Africa is home to less than 1,500 dog diet and veterinary care, the Cheetah
cheetahs—the global population is estimated Outreach Trust covers expenses for the dogs
at 10,000 to 12,000. Founded in 1997 by Annie for the first year. Though primarily used to
Beckhelling, the Cheetah Outreach Trust is guard sheep and goats, for the first time in
an education and community-based program southern Africa, dogs are now guarding cattle
created to raise awareness of the plight of as well. In a November 2010 update, Annie
the cheetah and to campaign vigorously Beckhelling said, “Slowly but surely, we are
for its survival. After witnessing the success getting a strong foothold in a difficult area, and
With the goal of “planting the seed of a conservation
of the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) we are establishing ourselves as a conservation ethic”, the Cheetah Outreach education department
livestock guarding program in Namibia, a trial organization that cares for our farmers and the facilitates increased pride and respect for South
program was launched in 2005 to introduce farming community we are working with.” Africa’s wildlife – using the cheetah as an ambassador
the Anatolian shepherd to farmers in South species. Many Africans have never seen, and know
Africa. To give this trial the best possible little about, the iconic species that Europeans and
chance of success, farmers were carefully Since the program was implemented, Americans travel to Africa to photograph on safari. In
Anatolian guard dogs have been placed an article published recently in the New York Times,
selected and given information booklets Michael Wamithi, Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service
outlining introduction and management on farms in three provinces, where they said, “The future is not secure for wildlife unless
strategies for their Anatolians and veterinary have reduced livestock losses by ninety-five children learn to love these animals.”
protocols to ensure the health of the dogs. percent and in some cases by one-hundred
For optimal results, dogs need to be in top percent. Cheetah Outreach welcomes thousands of local
physical condition. To promote a good working learners each year. Interactive presentations are
followed by tours of the facility and a chance to meet
the ambassador cheetahs and other animals. A literacy
program started in 2007 was designed to empower
teachers while improving the reading, writing and math
skills of young children. The program raises awareness
The Cheetah Outreach of South Africa’s natural heritage (South Africa is the
Trust breeds Anatolian third most biologically diverse country in the world)
shepherd dogs and places using the cheetah as the central figure in a book called
them on farms in South “The Hunt.” AAWARE – a user-friendly natural science
Africa in an effort to reduce curriculum for grades 4 to 6 provides teaching guides
conflict between farmers and lesson plans in English, Xhosa, and Afrikaans. The
and predators. Anatolian materials have been distributed to more than 1,000
puppies are raised with schools in the Western Cape.
For more information on the Cheetah Outreach Trust,
for the guard dog
extensive training. The
Trust covers the cost
of food and veterinary
care for the first year
All photos courtesy of
Cheetah Outreach Trust.
South Africa [ Page 13 ]
Conflict between people and wildlife is a serious threat to conservation worldwide and is becoming more prevalent as human population
increases, development expands, and global climate changes. People and wildlife are in greater direct competition for a shrinking resource base
(Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration).
Discovering ways to accommodate wildlife, people, and domestic animals on the landscape is critical to coexistence. We need look no further
than the U.S. Northern Rockies (parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana)—where the land on which wildlife depends also forms the basis for the
region’s livestock ranching economy. The Northern Rockies still harbors most of the species that were there when Lewis and Clark launched
their expedition over 200 years ago. However, this beautiful 80-million acre landscape is also one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. and
the area is facing unprecedented threats from human encroachment (The Nature Conservancy).
Keystone Conservation partners with rural
communities, combining local knowledge with
scientific research for practical conservation
14 Photo courtesy of Randy Wimberg.
Way of the West
Since 1991, Keystone Conservation (formerly the Predator Conservation The traditional cowboy on horseback monitoring his domestic herds has
Alliance) has worked to protect and restore native predators and their always had an integral role to play in minimizing conflict with wolves and
habitats in the Northern Rockies. Keystone looks for innovative solutions other predators. Yet, small ranching operations with slim profit margins
that help people and wildlife coexist—partnering with rural communities often cannot financially support dedicated riders. For the past five years,
to design strategies that save a place for America’s keystone species. Keystone Conservation’s Range Riders program has ensured that riders patrol
Finding strategies for the coexistence of people and predators requires Montana’s open range on horseback to deter conflicts with predators before
understanding the interrelatedness of wolves and other predators, natural they arise. The Riders use telemetry, herding, keen observation and non-
prey such as elk, domestic animals, and the habitat they share. The programs lethal hazing techniques to keep domestic herds safe. Few conflicts occur in
of Keystone Conservation combine local knowledge, hard science, and the the presence of the riders, despite a growing wolf population. The program
entrepreneurial spirit of the West to devise and implement practical solutions has pioneered a path for cooperation between ranching families and wolf
for conservation. conservationists. By supporting new Range Rider efforts through active
mentoring and helping transfer experience from its field sites, Keystone
Wild ride Conservation is changing understanding of domestic animal husbandry
While the return of the wolf to the Northern Rockies and beyond 15 years where wild wolves roam.
ago is one of the greatest conservation success stories of our time, the
biological success of the wolf has not been easy for those whose livelihoods For more information about Keystone Conservation and their innovative
depend on this shared habitat. Ranchers and outfitters have faced income programs for wildlife, visit www.keystoneconservation.us.
losses and a steep learning curve when dealing with expanding wolf
populations (Keystone Conservation).
The Northern Rockies
were once home to
thousands of gray wolves.
By the 1930s, they were
nearly exterminated from
the Lower 48. Almost
50 years later, wolves
became one of the first
species listed under the
Endangered Species Act.
Range Riders program
has pioneered a
path of cooperation
between ranchers and
conflicts occur when riders
Predators like wolves and grizzlies are Keystone species. Since 1991, Keystone
are in the field.
Conservation has focused on predators of the Northern Rockies in recognition
All photos courtesy of Keystone of the complex and vital roles they play in healthy ecosystems.
Back by popular demand, the Zoo welcomed best-selling author and lecturer Sy
Montgomery for a May presentation co-hosted by the Grange Insurance Audubon
Center. Sy spoke on her 2010, critically acclaimed book, “BIRDOLOGY: Adventures
with a pack of hens, a peck of pigeons, cantankerous crows, fierce falcons, hip hop
parrots, baby hummingbirds, and one murderously big living dinosaur.”
Three-hundred bird enthusiasts were delighted as Sy Montgomery described how
she bashed through the Australian rainforest to meet up with the most dangerous
bird in the world, the 150-pound cassowary. She described the impossibly delicate
and determined work of a wildlife rehabilitator who raises and releases orphaned
baby hummingbirds; and shared her heartwarming stories of 20 years living with
affectionate and individualistic hens.
Ms. Montgomery signed copies of BIRDOLOGY as well as her new children’s book,
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot—the latest in her award-
winning Scientists in the Field series for young readers. The books show people
immersed in the unpredictable and dynamic natural world, making science more
accessible, relevant, and exciting to young readers. The Zoo’s Animal Encounters
staff enhanced the evening by engaging guests through up-close encounters with
a flamingo, penguin, macaw, owl and hawk. Many lecture attendees arrived early
to hike the scenic grounds and riverside paths at the Grange Insurance Audubon
Center. The Zoo is grateful to the Audubon Center staff for their warm hospitality
and enthusiasm for collaborating on future events.
The Conservation Lecture Series launched in 1990 and provides an important
opportunity for the Zoo to offer adult education addressing timely conservation
issues around the globe. Guest speakers include award-winning authors and
internationally recognized scientists and conservationists who stand at the top of
their fields of study. Many speakers are conservation partners and receive grants
With her 2010 book, Birdology, Sy
from the Zoo’s Conservation Fund.
Montgomery wants to “restore both
our awe and our connection to these
winged aliens.” Sy visited Columbus
for a lecture in May as a guest of the Check the Zoo’s website or contact Rebecca Rose at Rebecca.Rose@
Zoo’s Conservation Lecture series. columbuszoo.org for news about guest speakers coming to Columbus in 2011.
Photo by Grahm Jones
Packed inhumanely into over-crowded shipping of turtles that are maintained as a hedge against
crates, 1,300 turtles were seized in February 2010 extinction.
by Hong Kong police. The turtles were headed
for food markets in China–many did not survive The Turtle Survival Alliance is an action-oriented
the rough handling and cruel treatment of their global partnership that is committed to zero turtle
A veterinarian at the Kadoorie Farm
and Botanic Garden in Hong Kong capture from the wild. extinctions in the 21st century. The organization
marks one of the surviving turtles mobilized in response to the rampant and
following the rescue operation. Among the survivors were 85 yellow-headed unsustainable harvest of Asian turtle populations
temple turtles (Heosemys annandalii) that were to supply Chinese markets, a situation known as
placed at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for the Asian Turtle Crisis. Recognizing that some
triage, treatment and rehabilitation. Because of species of turtles and tortoises were unlikely
space restrictions, Kadoorie was not able to keep to survive without well-managed populations,
the survivors permanently, and they appealed the Turtle Survival Alliance was charged with
to the U.S.-based Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) developing breeding programs for the most
for assistance in placing the animals. The TSA critically endangered of the world’s chelonian
committed to take 50 of the temple turtles, with species.
the remaining 35 going to TSA Europe. Each
turtle weighs between 13 and 16 pounds, so Asia’s turtles are being extirpated from nature
the Turtle Survival Alliance issued an appeal for to supply the insatiable demand from export
help to cover the estimated $11,000 to $12,000 markets. According to some estimates, as
freight bill. The Columbus Zoo is a long-term many as 15 million turtles are traded annually
supporter of the TSA, and due to an Emergency in the region, most ending up in China where
Conservation Fund established at the Zoo in 2004, the country’s rapidly developing economy has
funds were available to answer the call and save generated demand for expensive foods and
the lives of these turtles. traditional medicines made from turtles. Of an
estimated 90 species that are native to the region,
Yellow-headed temple turtles are classified more than 50% are listed as Critically Endangered
as Endangered by the IUCN Red List and or Endangered.
have disappeared over much of their range in
Southeast Asia due to conversion of their habitat
to rice cultivation. In a few places, they can still Conversion of their habitat to rice cultivation
A grant from the Zoo’s Emergency Fund helped
transport the survivors to their new home in Florida be seen in Buddhist temple ponds—hence their has landed yellow-headed temple turtles
where they form an assurance colony for the common name. The survivors will become part on the endangered species list.
species. of the TSA’s assurance colonies—captive groups
All photos courtesy of the Turtle Survival Alliance.
A hastily compiled page of tally marks—523 in all— tells the sad but all-
too-common story. An illegal shipment of 523 African grey parrots was
confiscated in the Democratic Republic of Congo on September 18,
2010. The parrots were bound for Singapore, according to the forged
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora) documents that accompanied their crates. Government
authorities at a regional airport in Kavumu seized the shipment as it was
being loaded onto a cargo plane. The first of its kind in the DRC, the
confiscation is an important step towards permanently ending the wildlife
trade for this imperiled species, threatened by decades of unsustainable
levels of trade.
Lwiro manager Dr. Carmen Vidal tends
to one of the hundreds of seized birds
that arrived after being confiscated by
18 Congolese wildlife authorities in 2010.
The birds were taken to Lwiro Primate The chimpanzees and monkeys at Lwiro
Rehabilitation Centre, a rescue facility that have more in common with the recently
cares for over 100 orphaned chimpanzees arrived parrots than just their current
and monkeys. Lwiro had no facilities for address. Parrot traffickers sell apes and
birds, and the arrival of more than 500 vice versa. The recent parrot seizures are
parrots caused tremendous strain on the following established black-market routes
staff. “We cannot do this alone,” said for apes, across Africa from west to east
Carmen Vidal, manager of Lwiro. “We and out to the Middle East and Asia.
didn’t have much warning. We were told African grey parrots are found throughout
Late in 2010, this story took a decidedly disappointing turn when the
these parrots are coming on Saturday and Central and West Africa, but have been government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Ministry of the
then they were here. We are doing the heavily hunted for the pet trade in recent Environment) seized the parrots from the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation
best we can. The government institutions years. Experts believe that up to 21 percent Centre with the intention of returning the birds to the original wildlife
are doing a great job of law enforcement of the wild population is captured each
and the efforts of the DRC government year, making greys one of the most heavily The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance issued a press release condemning
authorities are commendable; we are very traded parrots on the international market. this action saying, “PASA is outraged at the manner in which the
government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has removed these
pleased that they are taking this strong parrots from a PASA member sanctuary. We were given no warning and
stand on behalf of wildlife!” In response to this emergency, the World no cause. We rescue and rehabilitate wildlife to conserve important
Parrot Trust (WPT) is providing technical species, not make them well so that dealers might get rich. We condemn
this action, and will do anything we can to keep this shipment from
Shipped in small over-crowded crates with guidance and funding and is coordinating leaving Africa.”
no food or water, twenty-nine of the birds activities with the Pan African Sanctuary
While it is still not clear what ultimately happened to these parrots,
were already dead when discovered by Alliance (PASA) to garner further support two shipments of African greys moved through Africa shortly after the
Congolese authorities. Some of the birds for Lwiro. The Zoo is a long-term supporter Lwiro re-confiscation, and there is a strong feeling that both could have
were found tied to one another by one of PASA and provided an emergency been related to the Lwiro birds. One group of over 100 parrots was
stopped by Ugandan officials along that country’s Congolese border.
wing to prevent them from flying, severely conservation grant to the World Parrot Ugandan wildlife officials later discovered that the birds had been fed
damaging their flight feathers. The birds Trust to help care for the birds over the alcohol-laced sugarcane to make them drowsy for the journey. Another
are undergoing intensive rehabilitation to coming months. shipment of hundreds of parrots died on a one-hour flight between
prepare them for release back to the wild. Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa. State veterinarians are still
investigating, but early research indicates that the birds died of carbon
PASA and the World Parrot Trust submitted a brief to the Convention
Packed inhumanely into small, cramped crates, on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) asking the CITES
twenty-nine of the birds did not survive the Secretariat to investigate this action by the DR Congo government and
ordeal of their capture and transport. take steps to halt this and future illegal and inhumane consignments of
African grey parrots.
For more information, visit the websites of PASA and the World Parrot
Trust – www.pasaprimates.org; www.parrots.org
Photo by Grahm Jones. Uplisted to near
threatened in 2007,
African grey parrots
are captured from the
wild by the thousands
each year, primarily for
A Lwiro primate keeper and members of the pet trade. They
the World Parrot Trust veterinary field team are endemic to the
rainforests of West and
work side-by-side to administer treatment Central Africa.
to the parrots as they began their path to
All photos courtesy of World Parrot Trust.
Personal experiences in Rwanda in the early 1990s
led Partners in Conservation (PIC) founding member
Charlene Jendry to see conservation through the eyes
of local people. PIC incorporated the concept that the
lives of people and mountain gorillas are intertwined,
and that it is vital to find ways to help both. Over the
years, many Rwandan associations heard promises from
outside organizations that were broken. PIC assured
local groups that they would keep their word and would
wait to earn the trust of the Rwandan people. Nineteen
years later, honored promises and patience has led to
close friendships and successful partnerships.
Columbus Zoo Director Emeritus Jack Hanna with staff and
Photo courtesy of Rick Prebeg—
World Class Images. kids from the Imbabazi Orphanage in Rwanda.
Long-term Partnerships • More than 35,000 energy saving stoves
• PIC is honored to be one of the longest are being used by families living near the
on-ground supporters of the Mountain Nyungwe National Park. The stoves use
Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP). 75% less wood, and produce less
Currently, PIC funds salaries for two smoke—protecting trees and people.
Rwandan vets responsible for providing • PIC-funded livestock projects including
health care and security for mountain workshops on organizing successful
gorillas in Rwanda and the Democratic cooperatives and managing livestock
Republic of Congo (DRC). provide an economic alternative to former Completed in 2008, the Ubumwe Community
• Since 1991, PIC has supported projects poachers. Center offers a host of activities and opportunities
through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for disabled children and adults. From training for
• At a cost of only 34 cents per tree, PIC is marketable job skills, to the opportunity to learn
International (DFGFI). Located one mile funding a reforestation project in the American Sign Language—the Ubumwe Center
from the Volcanoes National Park, the DRC that will result in 80,000 trees planted. makes it possible for disabled adults to live with
Bisate Primary School hosts more than The native species will prevent soil erosion dignity and deaf children to attend school. Nine of
2,000 students—including children of and provide sustainable resources for local the hearing-impaired students have progressed to
mountain gorilla trackers and members of people. a point where they are able to enter a local primary
anti-poaching teams. PIC provides school. A grant from PIC will pay an ASL-fluent
textbooks, school supplies, funding for • Founded by the legendary Roz Carr, the
teacher to accompany the students so they can
a conservation education program, and Imbabazi Orphanage gave shelter and
fully embrace their school experience. The teacher’s
cisterns for clean drinking water. hope to children whose families were
annual salary is only $3,000.
killed during the Rwandan genocide of
• Since 2004, the Beekeeper Project has 1994. Partners in Conservation has
expanded to all 23 sectors surrounding The spirit of trust and collaboration between Partners
provided operating expenses since in Conservation and the people of Rwanda and the
the Nyungwe National Park. No forest fires 1995, as well as funds for dormitories and DRC is expressed in a student’s letter from the Bisate
have occurred, and beekeepers now collect a refectory. Current Imbabazi programs School:
fifty percent more honey. The next step is are helping young people transition to
to acquire official organic certification from independent living. PIC founding member Dear Guests,
the government. This will allow beekeepers Jeff Ramsey now serves as the executive Your annual visit to our school and your
to sell their honey to international markets. director of the Imbabazi. participation in the development of our school is a
symbol of PIC and the Columbus Zoo wanting to
Energy-saving stoves made
help us. We do not see you as a sponsor, but you are
by local people significantly one among our parents. As our conservation parents,
reduce the amount of wood you have shown us that good conservation starts
harvested for cooking. from people. We promise to be one of the good
partners of PIC, because of this acquired instruction
from you. Thank you very much for helping us to
help ourselves…and the mountain gorillas.
For more information, contact:
Rwandan women, many widows
Charlene Jendry, Partners in Conservation
Rwanda of the genocide, benefit from PIC
programs by earning money to Charlene.Jendry@columbuszoo.org
send their children to school. 21
Scientists are studying
the link between animal
welfare and reproduction.
The Wilds has recently
celebrated the birth of
two Persian onagers using
From the beginning, the Wilds has had a clear intention of advancing
conservation through a strong scientific approach, while offering
opportunities for experiential learning. Program staffing at the Wilds
is comprised of a unique team of professionals who contribute to the The Wilds manages the
collaboration of conservation research on a global scale. Recently, the largest group of Sichuan
Wilds and the Columbus Zoo have formed a stronger relationship. takin in North America.
With a shared vision of the future for wildlife science, education, and A Chinese research
partner has been
visitor experience, this integrated team can have a significant impact on observing the herd to
conservation. increase knowledge of
Animal Management, Husbandry and Health innovative Prairies: Biomass and Carbon sequestration
The Wilds is studying and demonstrating the use of diverse prairie in biomass
Program Highlights production and biodiversity improvements on previously coal-mined lands.
successful Breeding of the southern White rhinoceros Applied on a large scale, the massive root systems improve soil, sequester CO2,
Very few captive born white rhinos go on to reproduce. The rhino breeding and address climate change, while the shoots can be used in energy generation,
program at the Wilds has been very successful (a total of seven calves in the past high quality meat production, and economic development.
6 years). We believe that the open land and herd management strategies used
at the Wilds have contributed to the only fourth-generation white rhino born in Conservation education
captivity. K-12 Curriculum-based Day-long and Overnight Programs
reintroduction of scimitar-horned oryx Conservation Educators at the Wilds have developed a number of programs to
Due to over-hunting and habitat loss, the scimitar-horned oryx is extinct in the take advantage of the “living laboratory” at the Wilds. Day-long and overnight
wild. A young oryx born at the Wilds was part of a new founder population sent programs are designed to align with Ohio’s academic content standards, so they
to Tunisia to bolster the herds remaining in their national parks. The free-ranging fit in easily with classroom curriculum.
conditions at the Wilds produce animals better adapted for release programs. summer Camps for Children and Families
While having immersive experiences in lakes, forests, wetlands, and habitats
Field Conservation Program Highlights of all kinds, WildeCampers and Family Campers learn reverence, respect, and
sichuan Takin Program responsibility for every living thing. Enjoyment of our natural world and growing a
The Wilds currently maintains the largest multi-male/multi-female herd of Sichuan concern for stewardship are at the heart of summer programs.
takin in North America. This large group currently serves as a model population
for the development of satellite tracking collars to monitor behavior, habitat use, Conservation science Training Center
and conservation status. Functioning as a unique and innovative research and education venue, the
Wilds is currently poised for further development of its vast landscape and rich
saiga programming. The new Conservation Science Training Center, which opened
Saiga antelope were once found throughout Eastern Europe and central Asia. in June 2010, is equipped with classroom, laboratory, office, conference space,
Natural populations have declined by more than 80% in the past 10 years. The and on-site lodging. This new facility enables the exploration and discovery of
Wilds, along with the Conservation Center for Species Survival, is providing the natural world and assists in the dissemination of knowledge throughout the
training and resources to support a captive breeding center for saiga in Russia. region and the world, networking scientists directly to conservation and wildlife.
Wildlife and Conservation Medicine
Freshwater mussels are the most endangered group of animals in the world.
The Wilds is discovering new ways to study the health and well-being of these
The restoration ecology team is researching
vital members of our aquatic ecosystem in hopes of improving the ability to and demonstrating large-scale prairie
propagate them for reintroduction and conservation. plantings for habitat enhancements and
stress and reproduction in Ungulates other services such as biomass production,
Maintaining healthy breeding populations is imperative to global conservation. grazing, and carbon sequestration.
However, the breeding process itself can be very stressful. The Wilds is exploring
the link between stress and reproduction in ungulates by studying the medical
management of stress.
Wetland restoration A young visitor and staff member
Wetlands are considered the most biologically rich ecosystems in the world. turn discarded plastic bottles into
Development has caused these habitats to become among the world’s most functional bird feeders during a
endangered. The Wilds is working to restore a 20-acre wetland that will support conservation education program.
a wide diversity of vegetation, waterfowl and aquatic wildlife, while at the same
time offering ways for the public to experience its unique features.
By truck, plane and boat, the bonobos traveled to their new home in the forest. Local
trackers continuously monitor the released bonobos.
In June 2009, the first group of bonobos rehabilitated at Lola ya Bonobo (“paradise of the bonobo”) was released at Ekolo ya Bonobo (“land
of bonobos”), a swamp forest in the Èquateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nine bonobos (four females and five males) were
selected from the 60 cared for at Lola—the world’s only sanctuary for the endangered bonobo. In mid-June, the bonobos were transported from
Lola to Ekolo—traveling in custom crates under close veterinary supervision. First by cargo plane between the Congolese capital of Kinshasa and
Basankusu, then by truck to the project headquarters, and finally a 50-minute raft trip to the reintroduction site.
Photo courtesy of Craig Sholley.
Lola is the only sanctuary in
the world for the endangered
24 Photo courtesy of Vanessa Woods.
The detailed plan called for the bonobos to such as feeding, movement and inter-group monkeys, wild hogs and antelopes have returned—
be kept in a large isolation enclosure under dynamics. they have even seen elephant tracks.
observation for 72 hours before opening the gates
A minor setback occurred when three of the While thrilled with the results so far, Claudine
into the forest. Lisala, an eight-year-old female, had
bonobos began showing aggression towards the acknowledges the on-going challenges. “There is
decided otherwise. On the first morning, using her
trackers. It was decided to move these animals no magical solution—we must talk to the people,
own creative technique, she became in the words
back to Lola ya Bonobo so the team could continue educate, and then talk some more. Alternative
of Lola founder and director Claudine Andre, “The
effectively monitoring the bonobos before the incomes are not the be-all and end-all. Bonobos
first ever self-released bonobo!”
seasonal rise in river water risked dispersing the can easily learn once again to live free in the wild.
She spent the night outside the fence, making a
group further away into the forest. In October 2009, We just have to convince the humans, their only
nest for herself in a tree right next to the enclosure.
Max, Lisala and Lomami returned to Lola and easily real predator, to leave them to live in peace.”
On June 17, the gate was thrown open, and all of
reintegrated with their former groups, as Claudine
the bonobos were allowed to leave the enclosure The Zoo is a long-term supporter of Lola
Andre described, “Like they just went on a short
and explore their new forest home, under the ya Bonobo sanctuary. To follow the bonobo
watchful eyes of Claudine and Suzy Kwetuenda. adventures, visit www.friendsofbonobos.org.
A Congolese graduate student who has observed The return of the bonobos to Èquateur Province
the bonobos at the sanctuary for several years, met with great excitement; scores of people
Kwetuenda was hired to lead the post-release stopped by the project to watch the bonobos and
monitoring activities. speak to the reintroduction team. In September
Lola ya Bonobo
and October alone, 386 pirogues (traditional boats) founder Claudine
These pioneer bonobos adapted rapidly to their
with over 2,000 people came through. Some Andre enjoys time with
new environment. The group stayed together,
traveled from villages far upstream, deep in the local families in the
under the leadership of 23-year-old female Etumbe.
bonobo habitat. None of the villagers had ever bonobo release area.
She was more than six months pregnant, but Trust and cooperation
seen a bonobo before and many willingly admitted
Etumbe lead the group in actively foraging for food is key to a successful
that if they had ever eaten bonobo meat before,
in the forest. They quickly discovered and eagerly release project.
they would never do so again. The educational
devoured numerous local fruits, leaves and stems.
impact of the reintroduced bonobos was far greater
Although the reintroduction team continued to
than initially anticipated, and this constitutes an
offer water at the release site, the bonobos drank
important initial success of the project.
from the river and licked dew from leaves and
stems. The newly wild group immediately began Since the 2009 release, the bonobos have
making nests to sleep high in the trees. On July continued to adapt beautifully. They are exploring
18, Etumbe gave birth to a healthy baby, and the far reaches of the release area, and are living
immediately rejoined the group to resume her in total harmony with their wild environment.
dominant position. Working with local communities, the project team
has strengthened ties and continued to bring aid
Monitoring reintroduced animals is critical. The
to people who have very little. They established
team following the bonobos was recruited from
Village Development Committees to continue
the local communities—the Ilonga-Pôo and the
education and awareness, and provided much-
Kodoro. Their job includes a mix of eco-guard
needed equipment to the schools and medicines to
duties (verifying that there are no settlements,
the health clinics. During 2010, they supplied tools
hunting, snares or other illegal activities in the Suzy Kwetuenda, head of post-release monitoring,
for fishermen and farmers in the area—hoping to
protected area) and tracking of the bonobos. They helps Congolese children spot the released bonobos.
encourage alternatives to hunting in the protected
received training on using a compass and a GPS All photos courtesy of Lola ya Bonobo.
reserve. After three years of carrying out anti-
unit, as well as anti-poaching monitoring. Training
poaching patrols, the team reports that troops of
also focused on documenting post-release activities 25
Dubbed the “Excellent Event under the Tent” in • The Turtle Conservation Project – conservation
its 2009 inaugural year, Wine for Wildlife 2010 and alternative income development for
again put the “fun” in fundraiser with a second coastal communities to protect endangered
successful year. The wine-tasting and auction to sea turtles in Sri Lanka.
benefit the Zoo’s Conservation Fund was held on • Ohio Wildlife Center – rescue, rehabilitation
Saturday evening, October 2. It was a cold and and release of native Ohio wildlife.
rainy night, but four tasting stations hosted by
Spagio, Level Dining Lounge, Weiland’s Gourmet London-born auctioneer extraordinaire David
Market and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium took Reynolds brought his boundless energy to the
the chill off as 300 guests entered the friendly floor and led the crowd through an exhilarating
competition to place bids on more than 50 silent 30 lots—from a chance to “paint” with an
auction items—each lot accompanied by a bottle endangered black rhino at the Zoo to a seven-day
of wine. Columbus icon and award-winning singer/ South African safari, David knows art, travel, and
songwriter Donna Mogavero rocked the tent with has a unique expertise in wine. He whipped the
her signature smoky voice and surround-sound crowd into a bidding frenzy, and then brought
rhythm guitar. the room to a hush when he focused all attention
on the Fund-a-Conservation-Need Lot. Starting
Prior to the live auction, guests took a spin around with bids of $2500 and ending with a flurry of
the globe via Google Earth to visit the fruits of $50 donations, David raised $19,500 for the
Wine for Wildlife 2009. A video presentation International Polar Bear Conservation Centre that
highlighted six projects in six countries on four will open in Manitoba, Canada next year.
continents that received $50,000 in grants—
another $50,000 went to the Zoo’s Conservation The 2010 event raised more than $110,000 for
Endowment Fund. Grant recipients from 2009 wildlife conservation projects across the globe. A
proceeds were: special thanks to Wine for Wildlife 2010 corporate
sponsors, Interim Healthcare and IQity, and food
• ARCAS – The Association for the Rescue and partners Gordon Food Service (thank-you Chef
Conservation of Wildlife, Guatemala. Todd Gross) and Jeni’s Ice Cream. Great thanks
• ProDelphinus – a grassroots organization to our wine partner, Heidelberg Distributing
based in Lima, Peru. Company. Without the experience and passion
• The Limbe Wildlife Centre – a primate rescue of event founders William Goldman and Joanna
facility in Cameroon, West Africa. Felder, and the continued leadership of chair Chris
Godley—Wine for Wildlife would not be possible.
• KOCP - The Kinabatangan Orangutan Next year’s event is scheduled for October 15,
Conservation Project – research, 2011. You will not want to miss it!
environmental education, and community The Snow Leopard Trust received a grant from
involvement to benefit the endangered WFW 2010 for a ground-breaking collaring
orangutan in Malaysian Borneo. project in Mongolia shedding light on these
endangered cats. Photo courtesy of SLT.
Many of the field conservation projects supported by the Zoo are directly 2008 – Here a Bear, There a Bear
connected to the animals our visitors have grown to know and love. Throughout • Understanding the big conservation picture is critically important to saving a
the Zoo’s five regions (North America, Shores, Asia Quest, African Forest, and species. With a grant from the Zoo, Dr. Steven Amstrup will provide a valuable
Australia & the Islands), the wild counterparts of our Siberian tigers, western estimate of the historic and current trends in polar bear abundance and
lowland gorillas, Asian elephants, and many others, receive a helping hand survival in the Southern Beaufort Sea—including both the Canadian and
from grants awarded through the Zoo’s Conservation Fund. Visitors join in by Alaskan sides.
donating money at several collection points throughout the grounds—all of
these funds directly benefit wildlife conservation. Each year, the Zoo provides • Dr. Tom Smith’s project, “A Study of Polar Bear Behavior at Den Sites in
support to more than 70 projects in 30 countries. Northern Alaska,” seeks to understand the sensitivity of denning polar bears
to human activity.
Since 2007, the Zoo has earmarked funds for polar bear conservation and has
awarded $100,000 in grants to projects in three of the five polar bear nations 2009 – Advancing the Field
(U.S., Canada, Russia, Denmark [Greenland], Norway.) As our polar bear sisters • A 2009 grant from the Zoo will allow Dr. Steven Amstrup to develop accessible
Aurora and Anana near their fourth birthday, the Zoo marks four years of software for delineating home range and population boundaries of polar bears
support for scientists studying wild bears and their polar habitat. and other wildlife.
2007 – To russia with Love 2010 – international Polar Bear Conservation Centre
• For more than 20 years, Dr. Nikita Ovsyanikov has conducted research on the • With a $30,000 grant to Polar Bears International, the Zoo becomes a partner
polar bears of Wrangel Island. These bears are part of the Chukchi-Alaska in an exciting new project already underway in Manitoba, Canada. The IPBCC
population that spans the U.S. and Russia. is a rescue facility, research center, and international hub for education and
public awareness on polar bears and their Arctic environment.
• Dr. Ovsyanikov has gained a number of important insights into the behavioral
skills of polar bears that could enhance their survival in a severe and variable For more information on polar bear projects supported by the Zoo, see
Three fit polar bears walk the beach on Wrangel Island, Russia.
Photo courtesy of Nikita Ovsyanikov.
Weighing an anesthetized bear in Alaska. Taking a swim in the Zoo’s newest exhibit—
Males weigh between 775 and 1200 Polar Frontier. Polar bears are classified as
pounds—females range from 330 to 650 marine mammals and are protected in the
pounds. Photo Courtesy of Steven Amstrup. U.S. by the Marine Mammal Protection Act 27
of 1972. Photo by Grahm Jones.
environmental education/Local Capacity-Building/ • Increase Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) housing capacity – Namibia
• Rehabilitation of African grey parrots at Limbe Wildlife Centre – Cameroon
Workshops and Conferences • Post-release monitoring of West Indian manatee – U.S.
• SECORE (Sexual Coral Reproduction) Project – Curasow, Dutch Antilles • Expanding the Turtle Survival Alliance assurance colony for yellow-headed temple
• Conservation education around Sambisa Safari Park – Nigeria turtles through placement of trade seizures in Hong Kong – U.S.
• Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation (ZACC) – 2011 Sponsorship • Urgent care for confiscated African grey parrots – Democratic Republic of Congo
• Ohio Ornithological Society/Columbus Audubon Waterfowl Symposium – • West African manatee calf rescue and rehabilitation - Gabon
• Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) – workshop sponsorship
• Captive gibbon care training – Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand Conservation of species and Habitat
• International Otter Colloquium – sponsorship • Lukuru Wildlife Research Project – Democratic Republic of Congo
• Twenty-first century crisis management for South Asian zoos – workshop • Status and conservation of the West African manatee – range countries
sponsorship • Satellite-tracking and social behavior of the Bornean elephant in Kinabatangan –
• African and Asian elephant conservation and human-elephant conflict resolution Malaysian Borneo
project • Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative – Brazil
• Capacity-building program for Turtle Conservation Project – Sri Lanka • Ape TAG Conservation Initiative – Africa/Asia
• Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration marketing and outreach development – U.S. • Goualougo Triangle Ape Conservation and Research Project – Republic of Congo
• Limbe Wildlife Centre education programs – Cameroon • Anatolian shepherd guard dog program – South Africa
• Schools Awareness Program – Sri Lanka • Conservation of the scalloped hammerhead shark and its critical habitats –
• Development of innovative teaching resources for environmental education in Costa Rica
primary schools – Zimbabwe • Resolving conflict between humans and threatened carnivores around Ruaha
• Public awareness and increasing involvement of local people in the Saiga antelope National Park – Tanzania
conservation program – Russia • The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) – Papua New Guinea
• Reinforcement of the HEAP mobile program: Reaching out to local communities • Conservation of the Cross River gorilla – Cameroon and Nigeria
for biodiversity conservation – Sabah, Malaysian Borneo • Improving the conservation status of the endangered African wild dog – Zimbabwe
• Central Ohio Vernal Pool Monitoring Workshop – U.S. • Mbeli Bai Study of western lowland gorillas – Republic of Congo
• National Conservation Planning Workshop for Cheetah and Wild Dog – Ethiopia • Siberian Tiger Project: Research, training and conflict mitigation – Russian Far East
• Conservation in the Classroom: A technology and inquiry-based approach to ocean • Preparing the way for research at the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre
literacy – U.S. – Canada
• Field station to expand capacity of the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation • Long-term ecological study of snow leopards (Snow Leopard Trust) – Mongolia
Project (KOCP) – Malaysian Borneo • Conservation of the Eastern hellbender – U.S.
• White Oak Conservation Center Okapi Conservation Project – Democratic Republic
Wildlife rescue/rehabilitation/reintroduction • Elephants for Africa – Botswana
• Post-release monitoring of released chimpanzees (HELP) – Republic of Congo • Supporting anti-snaring activities of the South Luangwa Conservation Society –
• Improving the husbandry and reproduction of Asian pangolin species – Vietnam Zambia
• Returning the Louisiana pine snake to restored habitat – U.S. • Beach bottle beads – Reducing the slaughter of sea turtles by providing alternative
• Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center – Cameroon livelihood options (WIDECAST) – Caribbean
• Wildlife rehabilitation, research and environmental education (ARCAS) – Guatemala • Cheetah conservation and human impact – Kenya
• Drill monkey post-release monitoring – Nigeria • Wildlife Research and Conservation Trust: Coral replanting and restoration – Sri
• Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary – Democratic Republic of Congo Lanka
• Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre – Malaysian Borneo
• Bobcat monitoring at the Wilds and beyond via
biotelemetry – U.S.
• Habitat use and movement of larval giant salamanders –
• The effects of forest conversion, fragmentation and
hunting on Sunda clouded leopard – Malaysian and
• Forest canopies as safe havens from amphibian chytrid
fungus – Honduras
• Distribution survey of giant otters – Brazil
• Spatial distribution of herpetofauna – Nepal
• Distribution and conservation of red panda – Bhutan
• Verification of carnivore use of an important wildlife linkage –
• Glacier memories, water resources and aquatic bioassessment:
Environmental change indicator in the Tibetan Himalayan
Range – China
• The impact of deforestation on female red colobus
reproduction in the Kibale National Park – Uganda
• Investigation into the consumptive utilization and trade of
pygmy hippopotamus – Sierra Leone
• Population status and ecology of a rare gelada monkey
subspecies – Ethiopia
• Kinabatangan carnivore survey program – Malaysian Borneo
• Investigating the present-day ivory trade – China
Photo by Grahm Jones.
During 2009-2010, the Zoo provided support to the
following organizations through annual dues and other donations:
• Amphibian Ark
• Captina Creek Coalition
• Conservation Breeding Specialist Group – CBSG
• Elephant Care International
• Elephant Managers Association – EMA
• Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration -HWCC
• International Elephant Foundation - IEF
• International Iguana Foundation - IIF
• International Rhino Foundation - IRF
• International Rhino Keepers Association - IRKA
• Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership – MRP
• Ohio Biological Survey – OBS
• Ohio Environmental Council - OEC Commitment to Conservation
• Ohio Wildlife Center – OWC The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium aims to have a direct effect on wildlife conservation
• Pan African Sanctuary Alliance – PASA through awarding grants which promote sound and sustainable practices that
• Polar Bears International – PBI integrate conservation research, capacity-building, education, and community
• Snow Leopard Trust – SLT involvement around the globe.
• Timber Wolf Alliance
For more information, or to view this report on-line, visit http://contribute.
• Turtle Survival Alliance – TSA
• Zoo Outreach Organization – ZOO
Design by Samuel Ballinger.
Back cover image courtesy of Paul Swen.