Wildlife Action Crew: Rhinos and Poaching

Rhinos are a fascinating species. There are five species of rhinos still walking the Earth today. The five rhinos are the white rhino, black rhino, greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino, and Javan rhino. 

The most endangered of the five rhinos is the Javan Rhino. The Javan Rhino inhabits Java, Indonesia. The smallest rhino species is the Sumatran Rhino which weigh 1,870 pounds. The greater one-horned rhino lives in parts of India. They have a singular horn that is not very large. The Sumatran and the Javan rhino have tusks. The black rhino is a browser. This means that they have a prehensile lip that they use to pluck their food. The white rhino is the largest of the rhinos and the second largest land mammal. They are grazers meaning they have a wide mouth with only molars which they use to grind their food down. 

 

All five species of rhinos are endangered. The most endangered is the northern white rhino which is functionally extinct. This is because there are only two of them left and they are both females. The biggest threat to rhinos is illegal poaching. The cause for the massive poaching effort is because the people that poach these rhinos are generally poor. They see rhino horn as a paycheck as the horns generally bring in more money than having a traditional job like farming. 

The reason for this is because of the large demand for rhino horn for traditional medicines in China. This medicine has no proven benefit, but many people believe it works. To prevent the illegal poaching of rhinos we need to start educating the people in that area and teach them of the effect illegal poaching has on the future of rhinos. 

If you want to help rhinos, you can donate to organizations like the International Rhino Foundation. The money that goes to IRF positively affects rhinos. They do this by funding things like research projects, anti-poaching efforts, and habitat conservation.

Thank you to our Wildlife Action Crew teens for researching and writing this blog along with the other great content shared this week!

Keeper Connection: Why Don’t the Penguins Swim… Or Do They?

If you’ve spent any time at the penguin exhibit over the last 20 years or so, you’ve probably asked why our penguins never swim. It is, after all, the number one question asked when it comes to the penguins. But to answer that question would require one to get inside the tiny brain of a penguin. Something we’ve never quite been able to accomplish.
 
But things have changed in 2022! Guests that have gotten to the Zoo bright and early have been greeted by something long dreamed of by staff and guests alike: A pool full of swimming penguins.
 
So what has changed? While we have tried a number of tactics over the years, the final solution may ultimately be a combination of factors coming together. It’s also important to note that in conservation care, just like in their natural range, individual penguins take their cues from the rest of the colony. If there is a sense of danger, individuals are less likely to act on their own. In nature, this danger might be a nearby shark or a cape fur seal. In our habitat, the perceived danger may be our guests themselves.

The turnaround may have begun back in 2020, when the Zoo was closed for several months, due to covid. As guests returned, we roped off the area around the penguin glass for guest protection, as it’s a high-touch area. This “buffer zone” seems to have offered a bit of comfort, but again, only the penguins know for sure. 

Another factor may be that we’ve started handling our younger birds more, making them more comfortable around their keepers and more trusting of humans, in general. This seems to be reinforced by the fact that they are more likely to swim with a keeper “lifeguard” on duty. 

However, the most important move likely came when we brought in 8 new penguins from several other facilities. These penguins were “known swimmers” and did not have the same fears that our colony had developed over the years. Over time, their eagerness to swim has become contagious, first with our younger birds and then to the parents. To date, nearly half of our 34 penguins have been observed swimming with sometimes a dozen at a time.

Now I know that there will be some long-time members who read this with skepticism so we’ve included a little video evidence. My suggestion would be to come out and see them yourself! The best time is when they first come out first thing in the morning at roughly 10 A.M.

Better hurry though, the snow is coming and these are warm-climate penguins!

– Zoo Keeper Kevin Blakely

 

Ways you can help African penguins:

  • Adopt a penguin at SANCCOB – Adopt an African penguin or penguin egg that will be rehabilitated and released or adopt a ‘Home Pen’ bird that lives permanently at SANCCOB. Funds help to provide incubation, food, and veterinary treatment.
  • Donate to SANCCOB – Whether you donate your time or money, you can make a difference in the survival of endangered African penguins and other seabirds in distress. For more information, visit sancob.co.za.
  • Visit the Zoo to learn more about African penguins and the threats they face in nature through keeper chats, special experiences, and more.
  • Purchase sustainably sourced seafood – Purchase seafood caught or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean. Ask your local grocer if they sell sustainable seafood and visit seafoodwatch.org to learn more about eco-friendly options.

Seneca Park Zoo’s Original Seven Penguins

In April of 1997, the Rocky Coast Exhibit at the Seneca Park Zoo opened.  This brand new, state of the art exhibit displayed habitats for polar bears, California sea lions, reindeer, Arctic fox, and African penguins.  This was a very exciting time as it was the first time our Zoo had housed penguins.
 
A few months prior to the opening of the Rocky Coast we received our first 7 penguins from the Baltimore Zoo.  They were all between 1 and 2 years old when they arrived.  Their names were Blanca, Sydney, Rollo, Herbie, Newman, Chumly and Rocco.
 
Blanca is the only penguin that is still living here at the Seneca Park Zoo.  He is 26 years old and enjoys spending his days with his mate Twiggy.  Blanca and Twiggy are the parents to our most recent chick, Tonka.  Throughout the years Blanca has had 8 offspring.  These penguins now reside at the Erie Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Denver Zoo, Caldwell Zoo and Seneca Park Zoo.  Blanca is adored by all of his keepers.  He is sweet and sassy and you never know which one you’re going to get!  Blanca always keeps us on our toes!
 
Blanca
Sydney
Rollo
Herbie
Newman
Chumly
Rocco
Previous
Next

Sydney lived his life at SPZ. He had 4 offspring with his longtime mate, Calista.  These penguins reside at Fort Worth Zoo, Lowry Park Zoo and New York Aquarium.  Sydney was euthanized in August of 2022.  He was a favorite of the keepers for his laid back disposition and is deeply missed.

Rollo is currently 28 years old and resides at the San Diego Zoo.  In 2002 he left SPZ for the Toledo Zoo, where he lived until 2012 when he went to the Pueblo Zoo.  He has been at the San Diego Zoo since 2017.  Rollo did not have any offspring.

Herbie currently resides at Jenkinson’s Aquarium in New Jersey. H is 27 years old and lived at SPZ until 2019.  He went to Jenkinson’s Aquarium on a breeding recommendation from the Species Survival Plan.  He and his new mate are very genetically valuable but have yet to have any offspring.

Newman lived at the Seneca Park Zoo until 2016 when he passed away at the age of 22.  He had no offspring.  Chumley and Rocco are also deceased.  Chumly went to the Toledo Zoo in 2002 and was euthanized there in 2009.  Rocco passed away at the Montgomery Zoo in 2009 where he lived for 4 years after leaving SPZ in 2005.  Neither Rocco nor Chumly had any offspring.

Since the opening of the penguin exhibit in 1997, the Seneca Park Zoo has had one of the most successful breeding programs for African Penguins in the nation.  114 penguin chicks have hatched here!  And to think it all started with these 7 penguins!!!

– Zoologist Sue Rea 

 

Ways you can help African penguins:

  • Adopt a penguin at SANCCOB – Adopt an African penguin or penguin egg that will be rehabilitated and released or adopt a ‘Home Pen’ bird that lives permanently at SANCCOB. Funds help to provide incubation, food, and veterinary treatment.
  • Donate to SANCCOB – Whether you donate your time or money, you can make a difference in the survival of endangered African penguins and other seabirds in distress. For more information, visit sancob.co.za.
  • Visit the Zoo to learn more about African penguins and the threats they face in nature through keeper chats, special experiences, and more.
  • Purchase sustainably sourced seafood – Purchase seafood caught or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean. Ask your local grocer if they sell sustainable seafood and visit seafoodwatch.org to learn more about eco-friendly options.

Penguin Genetics & Breeding in Conservation Care

African penguins are in danger of extinction. Wild colonies along the coast of South Africa and Namibia are being depleted due to overfishing, climate change, and pollution. Seneca Park Zoo currently houses 34 African penguins, and we are doing all we can to ensure proper care, which includes maintaining a successful breeding program.

We participate in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which involves Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions throughout North America that also have African penguins.  Every three years, Institutional Representatives (IR’s) from accredited zoos gather to discuss African penguin populations. These meetings are led by expert advisors, and we all work together to maximize genetic diversity, manage demographic distribution, and long-term sustainability of the population.

The genealogy of each African penguin born in the SSP is known and they are ranked bases on how genetically valuable they are. At these meetings, we use the rankings to decide who would make the best pairings. Sometimes the two penguins are at the same institution, but other times we may need to send birds to other places.

This year the meeting was hosted by Cincinnati Zoo and IR’s from zoos all over came to discuss the 1128 penguins, in 51 AZA accredited institutions. There are currently 600 males, 525 females, and 3 unknown sex.

Before the meeting itself, we are all sent a Wants and Needs Survey, where we talk about if we would like to grow our colony, if we need to move out birds, how many birds we would like to bring in, or if there are any birds that shouldn’t be included in breeding over the next 3 years. Exclusions could be due to things like, medical conditions or age.

Once we arrive at the meeting, it is kind of run like a football draft, and we are all trying to make the best possible matches for our colony based on genetics. We utilize tools such as a MateRx, and this tells us if a paring is genetically valuable or not. The goal for the African penguin SSP is to grow the population to 1503 penguins, which means, we as a group need to hatch 68-74 chicks this year.

When looking at the MateRx 1, 2, & 3 are highly recommended and they would like to see 4 chicks produced from that pair. If a pair is a 4, they can produce up to 2 chicks. If a bird is a 5 or 6, we do not breed. This year we have 2 different pairs that are able to produce 2 chicks each. Here is a sample MateRx, so that you can get an idea of what we reference during the planning period. This has been my second meeting that I have attended, and look forward to assisting the Penguin SSP in the future.

This was a very brief overview, but I hope this answers some of the questions I often get about why we sent a penguin to another zoo, or why we decided to hatch chicks from one pair and not another. Also, did you know there are nearly 500 other SSP’s? That means this process is happening for other species as well. African penguin IR’s will tell you that their SSP is the best though! 

– Kellee Wolowitz, Assistant Curator – Carnivores 

Ways you can help African penguins:

  • Adopt a penguin at SANCCOB – Adopt an African penguin or penguin egg that will be rehabilitated and released or adopt a ‘Home Pen’ bird that lives permanently at SANCCOB. Funds help to provide incubation, food, and veterinary treatment.
  • Donate to SANCCOB – Whether you donate your time or money, you can make a difference in the survival of endangered African penguins and other seabirds in distress. For more information, visit sancob.co.za.
  • Visit the Zoo to learn more about African penguins and the threats they face in nature through keeper chats, special experiences, and more.
  • Purchase sustainably sourced seafood – Purchase seafood caught or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean. Ask your local grocer if they sell sustainable seafood and visit seafoodwatch.org to learn more about eco-friendly options.

Invasive Species Education and Reporting

March 18, 2022

Invasive plants and animals are becoming more of an everyday problem with new invasives species emerging every year.  With increased awareness of species such as the emerald ash borer, we at the Seneca Park Zoo wanted to know what invasives were in our area or threatening to be here soon. Partnering with Finger Lakes PRISM (Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management), the zoo has been including invasive species into our programming at the zoo, and in our parks in an effort to spread the word about these species that could have large negative effects in our environment.

The Seneca Park Zoo’s Naturalists lead volunteers through our local parks and green spaces to identify and report on the invasives we are seeing, as well as educating the volunteers to find these species on their own. Naturalists lead over 90 volunteers on close to 50 miles of trails in Western New York, specifically in places where invasives surveys have not yet been conducted.  When an invasive species was found on these hikes, the species was photographed and reported to an app/website used to collect invasive species locations and information called www.imapinvasives.org. This reporting tool is a great way to notify invasive species managers who will locate and often remove the species you have reported.

The Seneca Park Zoo’s Naturalists and PRISM coordinators hosted two removal events for an invasive species located in the mouth of the Genesee River called water chestnut. This very invasive plant will create large mats of vegetation along the top of a water source, choking out other species, and making the water an unusable habitat for the organisms that rely on it. Over 1,000 pounds of water chestnut was removed from the Genesee River this year and about 600 pounds has been removed annually from the river for the last 5 years.The Seneca Park Zoo will be holding informational webinars and classes on emerging invasive species, such as spotted lanternfly, in 2022. There will also be more identification hikes to monitor our area for new “invasions” of species not seen in the area. For more information on these events visit here. Please join us in the fight against invasive species!

– Dave Will – Lead Zoo Naturalist for Citizen Science

Amur Tiger Katya Blood Draw

March 9, 2022

Tracking the health of our zoo animals is at the forefront of what we do at the Seneca Park Zoo. One of the tools we have to monitor our geriatric animals is routine bloodwork to track trends. These blood values can indicate changes in organ function that the veterinarian can respond to with various treatments. With older animals, the risk of anesthesia to collect samples increases so Zoo Keeper Randi Krieger and Veterinary Technician Robin English began working with our 16-year-old (17 in May!)  Amur Tiger, Katya, to try and get a blood sample without anesthesia. After many months of positive reinforcement, they were able to successful collect a blood sample from her tail. This behavior can now be used to track Katya’s health more frequently as she ages.

– Veterinary Technician Robin English 

* Banner photo by Wayne Smith

Holiday Recycling With the Zoo

Holiday Recycling Tips & Guidelines

The holiday season can not only be a source of joy but also a large source of trash! In the months between November and February, Monroe County residents generate the highest amount of trash and recyclables of the year due to high consumerism. When we are shopping for, wrapping, and unwrapping gifts, we should be aware of what materials we are using and how we are disposing of our trash and recyclables. The more materials we recycle and dispose of correctly the less plastic and other pollutants end up in our green spaces and water ways.

The Seneca Park Zoo Society has been focused on removing trash from these areas with help from local volunteers with our Community Cleanup program. Since 2017, hundreds of volunteers have removed over 10,000 lbs. of trash from all over the Rochester area, not only removing the trash but reporting on what items are found to get a better understanding of what items are most impactful.

The first Community Cleanup of 2022 will be New Year’s Day at Turning Point Park. This will be a great chance to start the year off right and give back to our environment by helping to remove trash in a park that borders the Genesee River. Large groups and people of all ages are welcome!

If you would like to join us, stay tuned for more in 2022. Check out some of the recycling tips provided by Monroe County’s Department of Environmental Services for some great ways to improve your personal sustainability this holiday season. By working together we can all help to make Rochester a greener, cleaner place!

– Dave Will, Lead Zoo Naturalist for Citizen Science

Keeper Connection: In the Field – Saving endangered African penguins in South Africa

This article first ran in our ZooNooz April 2020 edition but since that issue was only released digitally due to the pandemic/shutdown we wanted to highlight this awesome experience and conservation message again—and what better time than during Penguin Weekend! 
 

Every year, Seneca Park Zoo Society raises thousands of dollars for conservation efforts locally and globally. And while our conservation partners need financial assistance, they also need help we can only provide by sending staff members to their sites. In 2019, funds were made available to send Zoo Keeper Kevin Blakely to SANCCOB in South Africa where he spent two weeks in December helping to rehabilitate African penguins.

A zoo keeper at Seneca Park Zoo since 2013, Kevin is the primary African penguin keeper and has long been interested in marine animals.

“My passion for marine animals began when I was at college and living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I went on snorkeling trips to the Florida Keys and visited the Ft. Lauderdale aquarium regularly. I had my first saltwater aquarium in my college apartment, and I’ve had at least one in my home ever since!”

 
A long-time partner of the Zoo, SANCCOB is committed to reversing the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of ill, injured, abandoned, and oil seabirds – especially the endangered African penguin.

“Donations and money are great and always needed, but organizations like SANCCOB really do appreciate people on the ground. SANCCOB welcomes volunteers of all experience levels and backgrounds because there’s always something that needs to be done, from laundry and cleaning to food prep.”

Following an extensive application process and a nearly 18-hour flight, Kevin made it to SANCCOB’s main facility in Table View, South Africa. Each morning began with an all-staff meeting to review pen assignments, supervisor roles, and any symptoms to look for in the penguins.

On Kevin’s first day, he was assigned to food prep, which is the heart of SANCCOB’s operations. He spent the entire day learning the food prep area, which includes medications and vitamins, and how to clean syringes and prepare formula for the penguins.

“Most volunteers are only around for a couple of weeks, so they need you up to speed and working from day two. The first couple of days can be hectic and overwhelming as you learn their procedures.”

Preparing Penguin Food
On Kevin’s first day, he was assigned to food prep, which is the heart of SANCCOB’s operations. He spent the entire day learning the food prep area, which includes medications and vitamins, and how to clean syringes and prepare formula for the penguins.
Speezy had come to SANCCOB three months earlier emaciated and suffering from a bad foot injury.
Speezy had come to SANCCOB three months earlier emaciated and suffering from a bad foot injury.
 
Food prep is at the heart of SANCCOB’s operations. Volunteers are required to learn everything from the locations of all medications and vitamins, to how to clean syringes and prepare formula.

Within a couple of days, Kevin was inside a pen feeding penguins. He picked up procedures quickly thanks to his experience with the Zoo’s African penguin colony, and it wasn’t long before Kevin was named a pen supervisor.

“I love to learn new things and be challenged. One of my proudest moments was coming in one morning to see my name listed as a pen supervisor. To start out and have no idea what’s going on, I was proud of how quickly I became comfortable with my assignments.”

“One-hour swimmers”

Seabirds administered to SANCCOB are divided into pens based on swimming abilities. Kevin was responsible for Pen 5, which at one point held 42 penguins. With 12 pens in total, two to three people are needed in each pen and birds are consolidated based on amount of help available. Pen 5 was home to many “one-hour swimmers”, which refers to the length of time a bird can swim during a session. When penguins are close to release, they need to be able to swim at least one-hour straight three times a day.

Kevin aimed to get the penguins into the water first thing in the morning so they could swim for one of their three hours. During that time, he would clean their pen, mats, walls, and equipment. After the first swim, it was time to prepare for feeding.

Each penguin gets three large fish (120-130 fish are prepped daily!) and formula – a blend of seafood, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the penguins also need electrolytes, additional medications, and to use the nebulizer to aid in their respiratory issues.

The SANCCOB facility has two pools about two-feet deep, with six pens surrounding each pool. After each swim, the penguins’ feathers are examined to ensure they’ve retained their waterproofing and their weight is checked for respiratory issues. The goal is to get them in the ocean as soon as possible.

“One of the most rewarding parts of volunteering at SANCCOB was realizing how much I was needed. Our work was important. It wasn’t just a vacation. Sometimes I was working 10-hour days, but I didn’t want to leave.”

 
Kevin was responsible for Pen 5, which was home to many “one-hour swimmers”, which refers to the length of time a bird can swim during a session.
 

Adopting a penguin
While supervising Pen 5, Kevin connected with an adult penguin that had come to the center three months earlier emaciated and suffering from a bad foot injury. Once the penguin was stabilized, it was determined that removing the injured foot was his best chance for survival. After months of rehabilitation, the penguin was finally cleared for release and Kevin had the opportunity to be a part of it.

To honor this bird’s fighting spirit and to thank SANCCOB for their tireless efforts to save seabirds, Kevin adopted the bird on behalf of Seneca Park Zoo and named him SPeeZy. On December 23, 2019, Speezy was released at the site of the Stony Point penguin colony, along with 16 other African penguins.

Seabirds that have been deemed non-releasable permanently live at SANCCOB in their “Home Pen”, while the ICU Pen is for “10-minute swimmers”. Because many pens are at capacity, SANCCOB’s work to rehabilitate disabled penguins for release, like Speezy, is so critical.

“Traveling to South Africa and working at SANCCOB was a dream come true. When you work with an endangered animal daily, it becomes very personal. During all my keeper chats at the Zoo, I not only try to educate our guests about the threats faced by African penguins, but also how people can help from right here in Rochester. For me to be able to go there and be part of the SANCCOB team, even for a short time, was an incredible honor and something I hope to do again very soon.”

 

The Dilemma: The Clutch and Molt Overlap

About 90% of the birds at SANCCOB are “blues,” or between juveniles and chicks. At this age, they’ve molted out of their feathers but can’t feed themselves and are still with their parents.

Normally, African penguins breed in the autumn and winter – between March and September. By October and November, the last chicks would have fledged and adults begin spending several weeks at sea fattening up for molt, which happens in November and December. In recent years, breeding has been delayed and the birds run into a dilemma late in the year.

When the penguins lay eggs in March or April, there are often heat waves and extreme storms in South Africa, which causes the birds to abandon their eggs or lose their clutches altogether (penguins usually lay two eggs per clutch).

The main reason for this delayed breeding is the decline of sardine and anchovy populations, the African penguin’s main prey, due to overfishing and climate change. Because of this, penguins are struggling to find enough food to be fit enough for breeding season.
Food availability, as well as environmental changes, has shifted breeding to later in the year when conditions improve. Many penguins now successfully lay eggs and start raising chicks in late winter (August/September or later). Therefore, these chicks are still in the need of parental feeding when the parents are due to molt.

African penguins fully shed their feathers once a year to secure waterproofing. Molting requires them to stay on land for several weeks, so they can’t hunt for themselves or their chicks during that time. Unfortunately, many penguins go into molt and are left standing next to their chicks at the nest site but unable to feed the them.

That’s where SANCCOB’s Penguin Rangers come in. Abandoned and weak chicks are identified and removed from the colony and taken to SANCCOB for hand-rearing and later, release back into nature. SANCCOB is working closely with the South African government and the managing authorities to try and address these problems and secure safe breeding spaces for the birds.

It is estimated there are only around 13,200 breeding pairs left in all South Africa.

– Zoo Keeper Kevin Blakely

 

Ways you can help African penguins:

  • Adopt a penguin at SANCCOB – Adopt an African penguin or penguin egg that will be rehabilitated and released or adopt a ‘Home Pen’ bird that lives permanently at SANCCOB. Funds help to provide incubation, food, and veterinary treatment.
  • Donate to SANCCOB – Whether you donate your time or money, you can make a difference in the survival of endangered African penguins and other seabirds in distress. For more information, visit sancob.co.za.
  • Visit the Zoo to learn more about African penguins and the threats they face in nature through keeper chats, special experiences, and more.
  • Purchase sustainably sourced seafood – Purchase seafood caught or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean. Ask your local grocer if they sell sustainable seafood and visit seafoodwatch.org to learn more about eco-friendly options.

Supporting the Elephant Blood Bank

September 28, 2021

Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is a naturally occurring virus of elephants in the wild and in zoos. Historically, the virus has been associated with only Asian elephants; however, African elephants are increasingly affected by the virus. A latent, or hidden, phase can reside in an elephant no signs or symptoms. When it comes out of latency and circulates in the bloodstream, EEHV causes severe disease and often rapid death, especially in weaned calves. While there is no cure for EEHV, the elephant community, led by veterinarians and researchers working in and with AZA-accredited zoos, is learning more about the virus and how to manage it, increasing survival rates. Elephants with EEHV require aggressive treatment with antivirals, intravenous fluids, and often blood products.Although Genny C, Lilac, and Moki do not have EEHV, and due to their age, are at very low risk, they can still help their counterparts who may be at risk. Because our elephants voluntarily participate in their own health care, especially allowing their blood to be taken, Seneca Park Zoo is to contribute to an “elephant blood bank” formed by a consortium of zoos housing elephants.

Genny C recently became our first donor, allowing us to take about 1 liter of her blood. The blood was collected into a special bag containing anticoagulants to keep the blood from clotting, and nutrients to maintain the red blood cells. Thanks to our friends at Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services, this blood was spun in a special centrifuge, and separated into RBCs and fresh frozen plasma (FFP). We can store the RBCs for 5 months and the FFP for a year, and if an elephant becomes ill with EEHV, or any disease that requires blood products, we can send these products to help with their treatment.

The high quality of our veterinary care program, coupled with our excellent positive reinforcement training program and Genny C, Lilac, and Moki’s relationship with their keepers, allows Seneca Park Zoo to continue to contribute to the larger zoo community!

– Dr. Louis DiVincenti, Assistant Zoo Director – Animal Care and ConservationDonate

Supporting Elephant Conservation with IEF

September 22, 2021

During our Elephant Week, we are supporting the wonderful conservation organization International Elephant Foundation (IEF) which is dedicated to the conservation of African and Asian elephants worldwide. There are multiple projects occurring within this organization that our zoo is a part of! The first is The Mounted Horse Patrol Team (MHPT) in Mount Kenya. We have been supporting this project since 2015. Having a patrol team on horses allows the team to travel faster and further into the park. They are responsible for protecting approximately 54,800 hectares of habitat that is home to around 13,000 elephants. This team has and continues to catch and arrest poachers, remove snares placed by poachers, and provide educational opportunities to students and community members.The second project that we support is one that is focused on sustaining local support for elephant conservation near Ruaha, Tanzania. They focus on supporting the local community and educating them on how to positively coexist with their local wildlife through creating conservation curriculums, creating opportunities for the communities to see their local wildlife in a positive setting, and more!

The last project that we support is enabling human-elephant coexistence through applied research and stakeholder engagement in Botswana. They created “Living with Elephants” workshops and presented them in 4 communities and 8 cattle posts. These workshops teach community members human-elephant coexistence strategies and allows researchers to learn from those members as they report their experiences.

IEF is doing really great work for elephants. That’s why we want to continue to support them! Please donate what you can and every $5 donated earns you a chance to win a painting done by one of our elephant friends here at the zoo!

– Zoo Keeper Hanna KaiserDonate

* Banner photo by Zoo Keeper Kat Kleinschmidt