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Lessons from the Passenger Pigeon for a Sustainable Future

Guest blogger: Sophie Williams, Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) student and consultant on the Passenger Pigeon Memorial renovation

In the past few months, we’ve learned about the story of the passenger pigeon and species conservation at the Cincinnati Zoo, as well as how you can help birds in your own backyards. There is still work to be done to continue protecting species around the world. From genetic research at the Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) to Go Green initiatives you can participate in both at the Zoo and at home, the Cincinnati Zoo is committed to saving endangered plants and animals from extinction in North America and around the world. Here are just a few ways you can contribute!

Be a Sustainable Shopper!

Many animals and plants are threatened by habitat loss. As consumers, we all have the power to protect wildlife by using the Sustainable Shopper app to choose products made with Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. Palm oil is used in many of the foods and products we consume every day from frozen vegetables to shampoo. Oil palm plantations are spreading across Indonesia, which produces 85% of the world’s supply of palm oil, often to the detriment of its rainforests and wildlife.

As consumers, we can choose to buy products made with sustainable palm oil as certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil. The Sustainable Shopper app connects you with more than 500 products manufactured by RSPO-certified companies.

To get the app: From your web-enabled phone, scan this QR code with your preferred QR code reader, or go to cincinnatizoo.org/sustainable-shopper.

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Look into the tiger's eyes.

Recycle your cell phone, and save a gorilla!

As we continue to advance our phone technology, cell phone users rapidly replace their old models with newer ones. But, what do you do with your old phone? Recycle it at the Zoo!

By recycling your cell phone you are preventing the large number of hazardous substances from entering our environment. Metals such as antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper, and lead, which can linger in the environment for a long time and have adverse effects on human health, can be recycled or disposed of properly.

In addition, by recycling coltan, a mineral mined in gorilla habitat, you are helping gorillas maintain a future in the wild. Drop your old cell phone into one of the collection bins around the Zoo!

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Buy a bracelet to support lions and livelihoods in Kenya.

Our Lions and Livelihoods bracelets were made by Maasai women from the Olkiramatian Women’s Group in Kenya’s South Rift Valley. Revenue from the sale of these bracelets helps the Women’s Group provide tuition for local school girls and contributes to the operation of the Lale’enok Resource Center, a community center that helps support both wildlife conservation and thriving Maasai livelihoods. Bracelets are sold at the Africa exhibit at the Zoo on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. This partnership is supported by the Cincinnati Zoo’s Saving Species Campaign. Wear a bracelet and proudly support this global initiative.

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Go Green!

Get involved with habitat protection and species conservation through sustainable actions! The Cincinnati Zoo supports a number of sustainability initiatives on site, from generating power through the largest publicly accessible urban solar array in the United States to a green roof to prevent storm-water runoff and filter out air pollutants.

You can practice sustainability at home, following the lead of the Zoo’s Go Green initiatives. Take a close look at the choices you make in life and identify the opportunities you have to select greener options. Start with a couple of quick and simple changes, such as switching your light bulbs to energy efficient ones or bringing reusable shopping bags to the grocery store. Once you’re comfortable with these small changes, pick out a few more to pursue, and you’ll be well on your way towards a greener lifestyle. Every small action you take can make a big difference in creating a more sustainable future for us all!

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To read the other posts in this series, click hereJoin us in July for updates on the renovated exhibit space and events surrounding the centenary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction.

June 19, 2014   1 Comment

June 9 to 13, 2014, Summer Camp Podcasts

Learn about cheetahs, red pandas and tigers from our 6th – 8th grade Working with Wildlife Summer Campers!

Cheetahs

Red pandas

Tigers

 

June 18, 2014   No Comments

Celebrate Endangered Species Day!

Declared by U.S. Congress in 2006, every third Friday in May is Endangered Species Day, a day to celebrate and protect our wildlife and wild places. Here at the Cincinnati Zoo, however, every day is Endangered Species Day. We work tirelessly to make emotional connections between people and wildlife, raise conservation awareness and promote ways everyone can take action to make a difference for wildlife.

Want to do something today to help save wildlife in honor of Endangered Species Day? How about helping us protect elephants?

Sabu, our male Asian elephant (Photo: David Jenike)

Sabu, our male Asian elephant (Photo: David Jenike)

As a coalition partner with more than 125 institutions, the Zoo works with the 96 Elephants campaign to protect elephants from poaching for their ivory tusks in the wild. The United States is the second largest ivory consumer nation behind China. While the recent strengthening of federal restrictions on the sale of ivory is a critical step towards ending the illegal ivory trade in the United States, state regulations are also necessary.

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Join the effort by taking the pledge at www.96elephants.org to not to buy or sell ivory and to support a moratorium on ivory products in our country.

You can also participate in a letter writing campaign. On World Elephant Day, August 12, the campaign hopes to deliver 96,000 letters and drawings from people around the country to state legislators in support of a ban on the sale of ivory by state. Over the next couple of months, Zoo guests can draw or color pictures and write letters expressing what elephants mean to them at our Elephant Wild Discover Zone. We will collect the letters and drawings to deliver them to Governor Kasich on World Elephant Day. Be sure to stop by next time you’re at the Zoo!

If you can’t make it to Zoo, you can download the letter template from our website here, and send it to me in time for the August 12 delivery to the governor.

And remember, just by coming to the Zoo, you are helping us save endangered species every day. So come on out and play!

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May 16, 2014   No Comments