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Zoo Atlanta Quarters for Conservation

By Rachel Davis
Zoo Atlanta announces Quarters for Conservation, a new effort to #changetheworld by contributing 25 cents of every general admission ticket to field conservation programs for wildlife, empowering guests to make a direct impact on animal species and their habitats with each Zoo visit. The program will increase the Zoo’s current level of conservation support by nearly $100,000 a year.
Zoo Atlanta is already active in conservation work around the globe. Ongoing efforts include but are not limited to programs for wild giant pandas in China; gorillas and their habitats in Africa; and beaded lizards and alligator lizards in Guatemala, and the Zoo’s Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund has supported such species as flamingos in Chile; sun bears and tigers in Sumatra; and rhinos and zebras in Africa. Programs for native wildlife include collaborations focusing on eastern indigo snakes, diamondback terrapins and hellbenders.
“Each animal in our care represents a wild species, habitat or ecosystem that it is our responsibility to protect,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Our visitors have always had the ability to support conservation efforts, but they now have an actionable opportunity to not only help the Zoo do more for wildlife and wild places, but also to make an individual decision about which project they support. In this way, the Zoo’s success and attendance will be directly proportionate to the number of conservation dollars we’re able to send to the wild.”
The Quarters for Conservation program is the first of its kind to offer this opportunity via digital format, with the potential to continue to engage and inform new conservation advocates even after the Zoo visit. Visitors can visit the interactive Quarters for Conservation kiosk to vote to contribute their quarters to one of three field conservation projects; guests may also vote via mobile phone by texting the numbers listed at the kiosk. Touch-screen monitors offer opportunities to learn more about the projects, each championed by a Zoo Atlanta animal care professional, and the species they support. The projects supported in the program’s launch year are Elephants for Africa, Project Golden Frog and the Golden Lion Tamarin Association.
Elephants for Africa works to protect Earth’s largest land mammals from habitat loss, ivory poaching and the growing conflict between elephants and farmers. Fewer than 500,000 African elephants remain in the wild, and 60 percent of the wild population currently resides on unprotected land.
Project Golden Frog works in the wild and in zoos to ensure the survival of Panama’s national treasure, the Panamanian golden frog, which is now believed to be extinct in the wild as a result of the amphibian chytrid fungus, habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. The project’s ultimate goal is to restore the species, which currently exists only in zoos and in assurance colonies, to the wild. Zoo Atlanta staff has been active in Project Golden Frog for more than 10 years.
When the Golden Lion Tamarin Association started protecting this species, habitat loss and the illegal pet trade had reduced wild golden lion tamarin populations to only around 200 individuals. It is estimated that around 3,200 golden lion tamarins now live in Brazil’s Atlantic Coastal Forest, but with only 2 percent of their habitat remaining, the population is fragmented and still at risk. Zoo Atlanta’s partnership with the Golden Lion Tamarin Association dates to 1992, and two groups of tamarins from Zoo Atlanta were reintroduced into the wild in Brazil in the late 1990s.
Visit to learn more. Voters are encouraged to spread the word using hashtag #changetheworld.

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