They are all receiving a boost in the wild thanks to the Zoo! We are proud to announce this year’s recipients of our Internal Conservation Grants Fund. These grants are awarded to field conservation projects that were proposed by Zoo staff.
Scarlet Macaw Population Reinforcement in Guatemala
Submitted by Jennifer Gainer, Bird Keeper
The Zoo has supported scarlet macaw breeding and release efforts of the Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association (ARCAS) for quite a few years now. In 2015, ARCAS released its first group of scarlet macaws in the Sierra Lacandon National Park to bolster the current wild population in Guatemala of around 150 birds. Unfortunately, this year, the ARCAS rescue center was hit by Hurricane Earl. Though there were no injuries, numerous toppled trees caused damage to the macaw breeding and flight cages among other facilities. Funds from this grant will be used to rebuild enclosures and perimeter fences damaged by the hurricane, in addition to providing medical screening for macaws in the breeding and reintroduction program.
A Comprehensive Conservation Action Plan for Two Sloth Species in Costa Rica
Submitted by Sarah Swanson, Interpretive Animal Keeper
Last year, the Zoo provided a grant to The Sloth Institute Costa Rica (TSI) to support sloth research. The funds were used to purchase tracking equipment to initiate studies of two-toed and three-toed sloth behavior and ecology. This year, the Zoo continues its support of TSI’s research to gather comprehensive knowledge on sloth behavior, health criteria, habitat use and conservation strategies. The overall aim is to improve human-sloth coexistence. In Costa Rica, sloths are one of the most common patients brought into wildlife rescue centers after being hit by cars, attacked by dogs, or electrocuted on electric wires.
Rainy Season Exploration for Unknown Blue-throated Macaw Breeding Sites
Submitted by Steve Malowski, Aviculture Team Leader
Since 2010, the Zoo has supported efforts to conserve the critically endangered blue-throated macaw in Bolivia. Fewer than 250 blue-throated macaws are estimated to remain in the wild, nearly half of which are found in the Barba Azul Nature Reserve. May through November, the birds forage, roost and mate. Then they disappear for several months during the breeding season until returning to the Reserve in March. Just where do they go to breed? That is the mystery Associación Armonía, the leading avian non-profit organization in Bolivia, wants to solve. This grant will support an on-ground exploration of potential breeding sites with the aim of identifying just where these macaws go to breed. Protecting breeding sites is critical to the survival of blue-throated macaws.
Conserving Africa’s Endangered Painted Dogs in the Zimbabwean Lowveld
Submitted by Jenna Wingate, Africa Keeper
The African Wildlife Conservation Fund has been working to protect African painted dogs and other carnivores in the Zimbabwean Lowveld for the past eight years. Zimbabwe is one of only eight countries supporting viable populations of painted dogs, and the Lowveld supports the largest population in the country. This grant will address human-carnivore conflict through community-based education efforts and anti-poaching activities. It will also support field projects to monitor pack numbers and health through the use of cameras at den sites.
Living Lands & Waters Ohio River Program
Submitted by Fia Cifuentes and Raymond Ulrich
A connection to rivers as part of nature is vitally important in creating conservation leaders who will protect them. Living Lands & Waters (LLW) has been conducting river clean ups and educational workshops since 1998. This project aims to engage the Cincinnati community in conservation action through river clean ups and educational workshops. With the Zoo’s support, LLW plans to host 15 clean ups to engage 300 volunteers in removing 14,000 pounds of debris from the Ohio River, ranked as the most polluted river in the United States, in 2017. Additionally, LLW aims to host 16 workshops for 480 local high school students aboard its one-of-a-kind floating classroom to educate and inspire them to become river stewards. A clean river is important to the health of humans and wildlife alike.
Check back throughout the year for updates on this field conservation projects!