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Conservation

2014-2015 Passion Into Conservation Action (PICA) Grant Recipients

Bridget Beury, Africa East/ Pachyderm Keeperbridget

Destination: Botswana
Project: Elephants for Africa 

Elephants for Africa is dedicated to ensuring the survival of the African elephant through research and education in the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Park (MNPNP). For the past 11 years Elephants for Africa has specifically been examining male elephant ecology in Botswana.
Benefit to  Conservation:

  • Will assist with field research that contributes directly to our understanding of African elephant behavior
  • Will return with knowledge gained in field of the threats elephants face in the wild & share with Zoo guests what they can do to aid in conservation of the species
  • As part of grant monies requested, will purchase much needed field supplies to donate to Elephants for Africa

Benefit to Birmingham Zoo:

BZI already contributes to Elephants for Africa, but establishing a long-term connection with an organization that is dedicated to the research, education and conservation of elephants, specifically with male elephants, would be extremely advantageous to both organizations.

Benefit to Career:

Participating in field work would broaden my skill set to include data collection, research and observation. The opportunity to witness male elephants in a free roaming bachelor herd and how the adolescent males interact with each other would be an incredible and awe- inspiring experience that I would be able to share with guests.


Carrie and koala

Carrie Brooks, Education/ Education Program Coordinator

Destination: Australia
Project: Save the Cassowary, Garner’s Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

The Southern or double-wattled cassowary is an iconic yet endangered bird of Queensland, Australia. It is threatened by habitat destruction, feral pigs, dog attacks and vehicle strikes. Rainforest Rescue has created the Save the Cassowary campaign launched throughout Australia in March 2014; with plans to become global in 2015.

Benefit to Conservation:

  • Participating at the Garner’s Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at Mission Beach and in the Daintree Rainforest will directly benefit the local conservation efforts.
  • Educating Birmingham Zoo visitors about the conservation of the cassowary, as well as other animals and plants in their ecosystem will allow our guests to take part in the conservation of this incredible animal.

Benefit to Birmingham Zoo:

  • By participating in the campaign, educating visitors and providing them with opportunities for assisting in raising funds for this cause, BZI will show its commitment to the conservation of the cassowary.
  • Bringing this global campaign to BZI will help make us a strong international partner of Rainforest Rescue and within the AZA, EAZA and ZAA network.

Benefit to Career:

  • Will give me a greater knowledge of the cassowary, its ecology, plight and conservation which I will apply to education programs.
  • Will be able to use my interpretation skills, newfound knowledge and ideas to create new learning experiences for visitors.

For more on this PiCA grant, click here.


rachel gulley

Rachel Gulley, Children’s Zoo/ Alabama Wilds Keeper

Destination: New Zealand
Project: Rebuilding the New Zealand Falcon Population, Wingspan Raptor Center

Wingspan Bird of Prey Center in Rotorua is New Zealand’s leading conservation, education and research organization for birds of prey. The mission of the Wingspan Bird of Prey Center’s is the conservation effort of the threatened ‘Karearea’ New Zealand falcon.Benefit to Conservation:

Will participate in hands on action for captive breeding and release of the New Zealand falcon, is the only endemic bird of prey to New Zealand

Benefit to Birmingham Zoo:

  • The opportunity to observe and learn new falconry techniques that can be utilized by the raptor trainers of the Children Zoo’s Alabama Wilds.
  • Skills learned would greatly benefit one raptor in particular, our Mississippi Kite “Spike“, as the NZ falcon is very similar in behavior and size to him.
  • Will bring back new ideas for Children’s Zoo activities and ways to inspire and inform the public about raptors and their conservation.

Benefit to Career:

  • Greater understanding of raptor management and the use of falcons in free flight demonstrations.
  • Strengthen my passion and enthusiasm for animal management, while expanding my knowledge of raptor conservation.

mccain

Stephanie McCain, Animal Department/ Director of Animal Health

Destination: Indonesia
Project: Orangutan Veterinary Advisor Group Workshop

A large number of orphaned orangutans exist in rehabilitation centers across Borneo and Sumatra. These orangutans – which number approximately 1,600 – arrive bearing a host of physical and emotional wounds and require intense veterinary care to recover. The OVAG workshops focus on the issues relating to orangutan releases, primarily health issues regarding pre and post released individuals.
Benefit to Conservation:

Rehabilitation and release of orangutans that arrive at rescue centers is vital in helping maintain wild orangutan populations. It is essential that the veterinary staff on the front lines fighting this battle have as much information as possible on recent advances in veterinary medicine. As part of the Advisor Group, I would be able to provide insight on case management, diagnostics, therapeutics, and disease management.

Benefit to Birmingham Zoo:

With the next phase of construction at Birmingham Zoo being an Asian exhibit, this project would help show the public and potential donors our commitment to helping conserve orangutans in the wild.

Benefit to Career:

  • Would allow me to develop relationships with veterinarians in the field who work with orangutans on a daily basis , thus allowing me to become a long term resource and consultant.
  • Enable me to expand my network of colleagues that I work with to a much broader extent.

Benefit to Birmingham Zoo:

With the next phase of construction at Birmingham Zoo being an Asian exhibit, this project would help show the public and potential donors our commitment to helping conserve orangutans in the wild.

Benefit to Career:

  • Would allow me to develop relationships with veterinarians in the field who work with orangutans on a daily basis , thus allowing me to become a long term resource and consultant.
  • Enable me to expand my network of colleagues that I work with to a much broader extent.

amy toman

Amy Toman, Trails of Africa-West/ Animal Care Professional

Destination: Namibia
Project: Conserving Namibia’s Desert-Dwelling Giraffe

It is estimated that less than 80,000 total giraffes exist in the wild. Giraffe Conservation Foundation is currently on the front lines in several countries throughout Africa aiding in conservation research. GCF plays a vital role in many conservation aspects to ensure a sustainable future where all giraffe populations and subspecies are protected and secure in the wild.

Benefit to Conservation:

This study will be the first ever giraffe conservation status assessment in Namibia, which is projected to form the baseline data for scientific research to help develop the first ever National Giraffe Conservancy Strategy for Namibia.

Benefit to Birmingham Zoo:

  • Will allow us to continue to build ties with this conservation organization, such as we did on World Giraffe Day
  • Strengthen ties and collaborate with our zoo colleagues that also support this research.
  • Sharing my direct experience in the field studying giraffes with guests to inspire them to take action to conserve giraffe populations in the wild.

Benefit to Career:

Opportunity to work alongside highly esteemed professionals in giraffe conservation in the field will not only offer tremendous learning opportunities for me as an animal care professional but will also allow for personal growth well.

For more information on this PiCA grant, click here.