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Thursday, November 21

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2018-2019 Quarters for Conservation programs

Lions, drills, fossas and their habitats will benefit from the Zoo’s commitment to direct 25 cents of every admission to saving species

Field conservation projects in Kenya and Tanzania; Nigeria and Cameroon; and Madagascar are the three newest beneficiaries of the 2018-2019 program year of Quarters for Conservation at Zoo Atlanta. The initiative contributes 25 cents of every general admission ticket to programs for wildlife.

Zoo Atlanta launched Quarters for Conservation in 2016 with a goal of further increasing the Zoo’s impact on global conservation support. The 2018-2019 programs are Lion Guardians, the Pandrillus Foundation’s Drill Ranch and Rainforest Trust.

“We’re excited to introduce a third year of Quarters for Conservation. We want all of our guests to know that by visiting and supporting Zoo Atlanta, they are already making a personal contribution to programs that make a direct impact on wild animals,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Once they’re here at the Zoo, there’s so much more to learn about the importance of the individual actions we can take in our daily lives to help save species.”

Visitors may vote for the project they would like to see receive the highest level of conservation support by visiting the digital Quarters for Conservation kiosk just inside the Zoo entrance. The kiosk features videos, information and touch-screen voting. Guests may also vote via mobile phone by texting the number listed at the kiosk.

Quarters for Conservation projects for 2018-2019

Lion Guardians, Kenya and Tanzania: The wild population of African lions, which are currently classified as vulnerable, has decreased by over 40 percent in just the last 20 years. Lions now occupy only 17 percent of their historical habitat. African lions face threats from habitat loss and illegal hunting and are frequently killed for preying on livestock. The Lion Guardians program employs young Maasai warriors, who once viewed lion killing as a rite of passage, to become lion protectors by training them on methods to help their communities coexist with lions. Lion Guardians also monitors lion populations via radio-tracking and works to lion-proof livestock pens. Their efforts prevent an average of 50 lion hunts a year and lessen the economic cost of livestock loss to local farmers.

Drill Ranch, Nigeria and Cameroon: On the brink of extinction in the 1980s, the endangered drill monkey faces threats from habitat loss and poaching for the bushmeat trade. In Nigeria, farming and illegal logging have claimed more than 95 percent of drills’ rainforest habitat. Thanks to rescue and rehabilitation efforts and managed breeding programs, the Pandrillus Foundation’s Drill Ranch is now home to more than 500 drills, with a goal of releasing these shy but social animals back into the wild. The Drill Ranch also assists the surrounding community by providing livelihoods, training and healthcare for local people and by donating tree seedlings and education materials to area schools.

Rainforest Trust, Madagascar: Roughly 80 percent of the fossa’s forest habitat in Madagascar has been destroyed for slash-and-burn agriculture, mostly for cattle farming, and for charcoal production and timber harvest. Now classified as vulnerable, fossas are the largest native predators on Madagascar. Habitat loss and habitat fragmentation have resulted in a population decline of around 30 percent for these solitary animals, which require continuous territories to find food and mates. The Rainforest Trust is establishing a 3,460-acre Lost Rainforest Reserve to create a safe habitat for fossas and the many other species found only on Madagascar. The reserve will employ local people, provide education to surrounding communities, and establish firebreaks to prevent the spread of forest fires to protected areas.

Projects previously supported by Zoo Atlanta through Quarters for Conservation are the East Africa Vulture Project (Kenya); Elephants for Africa (Botswana); the Golden Lion Tamarin Association (Brazil); Project Bush Dog (Argentina); Project Golden Frog (Panama); and the Tiger Conservation Campaign (Sumatra).

In addition to Quarters for Conservation, conservation programs and partnerships supported by Zoo Atlanta are at work now for species and their habitats in countries around the globe. The Zoo also helps to fund other organizations working in the field through its Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund to make a meaningful impact on reversing species decline around the world.

Click here to learn more about Quarters for Conservation and other highlights of conservation efforts at Zoo Atlanta. Follow #TakeoverTuesday on Zoo Atlanta Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn more from each of the three 2018-2019 Quarters for Conservation project champions.

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