The Birmingham Zoo is a world leader in conservation study and an ambassador for the preservation of wild animals and their natural environments. Guests can make the connection of wildlife conservation through visiting the Zoo’s animals and participating in the many educational offerings. The Birmingham Zoo continues to further its mission of “Inspiring Passion to Conserve the Natural World.”
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The Birmingham Zoo has launched a new initiative in order to “live the mission” by creating an all-new Green Team. This group of individuals is comprised of members representing every department in the Zoo, from Animal Staff to Development to Education. The Green Team has encouraged the Zoo’s staff to take on a new mindset in order to conserve our natural resources. Changes implemented in 2016 include: turning off computers at night, turning off lights when employees leave their offices or buildings, and monitoring water usage and reporting leaks as soon as possible.
In addition to encouraging employees to be more green-minded, the Green Team has placed more recycling containers at special events, implemented a battery recycling program, and hosted two clean-up events on Zoo property. On April 22 and September 23, Zoo staff gathered to clean up a retention pond area on grounds. Approximately 30 bags of trash were gathered, including items such as bottles and cans, car tires, a copy machine, and even some poker chips! The team plans to continue monitoring and cleaning the Zoo’s undeveloped land and will host a parking lot clean-up and sweep of the Zoo for trash in 2017.
In June of 2016, Terra Manasco, the Birmingham Zoo’s Conservation and Special Projects Manager, traveled to southern Belize to participate in an ongoing 3 year research project aiming to document the effects of human disturbance on jaguars.
Ms. Manasco received funding for her research project through the Birmingham Zoo’s Passion into Conservation Action grants program, which allows Zoo employees to participate in conservation field research projects throughout the world.
A significant part of this jaguar research involved setting trail cameras out in remote pristine areas in the Maya Mountains as well as near villages where human disturbance, such as conversion of forest into agricultural fields, is common.
In addition to the trail cameras set for research purposes, she also brought a personal trail camera and set it to video to see if anything interesting was coming through the camp at night. The result was astounding! Watch the movie and find out what she recorded on her trail cam, a mere 3 minutes walk from where she was sleeping at night!