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New Conservation Commitment for Five International Programs

Projects for red pandas, clouded leopards, slender-snouted crocodiles, drill monkeys, and western lowland gorillas will be funded in 2023 by Zoo Atlanta’s Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund

ATLANTA – December 8, 2022 – Zoo Atlanta announces a commitment of support for five conservation programs protecting wildlife in Nepal, Cambodia, and multiple locations in Africa. Projects for red pandasclouded leopardsdrill monkeyswest African slender-snouted crocodiles, and western lowland gorillas are the 2023 beneficiaries of the Zoo’s Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund.

The Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund annually awards grants to projects that enable Zoo Atlanta to amplify its global conservation impact. Projects are proposed for consideration by team members across Zoo Atlanta and are selected by a review committee based on relevance to the Zoo’s mission; conservation status and needs of the species in question; conservation significance; inclusion of education and community outreach; and professional development opportunities for the Zoo team.

“Zoo Atlanta is excited to support five projects through our Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund in 2023. A key aspect of our Conservation Strategic Plan – and of any long-term successful conservation effort – is partnership and the ability to support the work of partners making a difference for animals in the wild,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Not only do these programs support individual species, but they also support ecosystems and engage human communities in conservation. This big-picture strategy is vital to our mission of preserving biodiversity.”

Programs slated for 2023 support from the Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund are as follows:

Continuing support for the Red Panda Network’s reforestation nursery

Funding from Zoo Atlanta will help to enable the continued support of an established reforestation nursery in Jaubari, Nepal, to counteract habitat loss for endangered red pandas. While red pandas are the target species, the project also benefits other species native to this ecosystem, including Chinese pangolins, musk deer, dholes, leopards, clouded leopards, and Himalayan black bears. The project was proposed by Kenn Harwood, Curator of Mammals.

Anti-poaching program to reduce mortality of clouded leopards

Support from Zoo Atlanta will assist the Wildlife Alliance in anti-poaching efforts aimed at reducing mortality of clouded leopards due to snares in Cambodia’s Cardamom Rainforest. The initiative will include law enforcement patrols and snare removals in an ecosystem that is home to an important population of this vulnerable species and other threatened mammals. The project was proposed by Michelle Elliott, Mammal Keeper.

Program to advance the study and practice of reintroducing critically endangered slender-snouted crocodiles

Funding will support Florida International University’s project to advance the science and practice of reintroductions as a conservation strategy for critically endangered crocodilians using west African slender-snouted crocodiles as a model. Work will include ecological evaluation and efforts to build a new generation of conservation advocates within local communities. The project was proposed by Noah Carl, Herpetology Keeper.

The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance’s Green Project to protect biodiversity

Funding will support the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance’s Green Project, a collaborative, community-focused effort which aids in protecting biodiversity, including a fragile population of endangered drill monkeys, in Mount Cameroon National Park. The project was proposed by Patti Frazier, Lead Keeper of Small Primates.

Mitigating threats to apes in the Congo Basin

Congo-Apes, an arm of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project, works to mitigate threats to apes, including critically endangered western lowland gorillas and endangered central chimpanzees, in the Congo Basin. The project assesses the common needs of apes, their ecosystem, and human communities and strengthens conservation policies governing the area. The project was proposed by Jodi Carrigan, Curator of Primates.


Beyond those projects supported by the Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund, Zoo Atlanta has a long history of conservation program support and scientific research focused on enhancing the global body of knowledge on animal behavior and biology. Zoo Atlanta has thus far contributed over $16 million to field projects for giant pandas. In 2018, Zoo Atlanta announced a substantial partnership with Conservation South Luangwa, a nonprofit organization based in Zambia, to protect African elephants and other species impacted by illegal wildlife trafficking and human-wildlife conflict. In 2022, the Zoo announced a considerable new commitment to a second major conservation partner, the Golden Lion Tamarin Association in Brazil, in continuation of a decades-long partnership to protect the endangered icons of Brazil’s Atlantic Coastal Forest.

While all experiences at Zoo Atlanta enable and help to expand the organization’s conservation work, visitation also has a direct impact: Since 2016, Zoo Atlanta has contributed 25 cents of every general admission ticket to programs for wildlife through its Quarters for Conservation program.

Learn more about conservation programs and partnerships at Zoo Atlanta at

Rachel Davis, Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office 
404.309.2238 – cell

Gavin Johnson, Public Relations and Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office


About Zoo Atlanta

A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit


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