Greenville Zoo awards $13K to local, global conservation efforts

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Photo by S. Brinkman, Flickr Creative Commons.

The Greenville Zoo plans to donate $12,910, which was raised through its Quarters for Conservation program, to nine local and international conservation projects.

These projects will receive funding from the zoo:

  • Greenville’s Lake Conestee Nature Park will receive $910 to monitor native reptiles and amphibians.
  • Clemson University researcher Jill Newman will receive $1,000 to continue her work to understand the state’s green salamander population, and model the species’ vulnerability to anticipated climate change.
  • The Georgia Sea Turtle Center will receive $3,000 to assess the impacts of climate change and habitat quality on the ecology of rattlesnakes.
  • The International Reptile Conservation Foundation will receive $3,000 to restore oak tree habitat for the critically endangered arboreal alligator lizard in central Guatemala.
  • Save Our Saluda, a citizens group that works to protect and restore water resources in the Saluda Watershed, will receive $1,000 to create an interactive map of the Upper Saluda Watershed.
  • Coral Reef CPR will receive $1,000 to further assess the conservation status of endangered reef sharks in the Maldives.
  • Virginia Technical College researcher Brandon Semel will receive $1,000 to help develop conservation efforts for Madagascar’s lemurs.
  • Creature Conserve will receive $1,000 to monitor giant otter populations at the Karanambu Lodge in Guyana during the dry season.
  • People, Lions, and the Environment will receive $1,000 to stop illegal lion killings around protected areas in western Tanzania.

Jeff Bullock, Greenville Zoo administrator, said the zoo has collected more than $100,000 in the last three years through its Quarters for Conservation program.

“Quarters for Conservation gives our more than 300,000 annual visitors a way to connect with these conservation programs,” he said.

In 2010, the zoo launched the program to meet accreditation standards by creating a funding source for local and global conservation efforts. For each admission purchase, visitors receive a token representing 25 cents of their admission fee. Visitors use their tokens to vote for one of five highlighted conservation programs at a kiosk located at the zoo’s entrance.

In addition to funding from the general admission fee, the zoo allocates $3 from each annual membership fee to a restricted fund for conservation.

“The conservation projects change yearly and the amount each project receives is directly related to the number of votes it receives from our zoo guests,” Bullock said.

Each year, 50 percent of the program’s funds go to the kiosk projects, which include the restoration of the Fijian crested iguana on the island of Monuriki and efforts to help the Sumatran orangutan, Chilean flamingo, Amur leopard, and Angolan Colobus monkey.

Those funds will go before City Council later this year, according to Bullock.

The remaining funds are used to support grants to nonprofits, individuals, and educational entities with shared interests in conservation, and a small percentage is set aside for on-site conservation, research, and administration.

The zoo has since funded more than 20 conservation projects across the globe.

For more information, visit greenvillezoo.com.

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