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ZOO ATLANTA ANNOUNCES 2024 COMMITMENT TO SIX CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

Projects for Asian hornbills, red pandas, Madagascan tortoises, clouded leopards, western lowland gorillas, central chimpanzees, and drill monkeys will be funded in 2024 by The Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund 

ATLANTA – December 12, 2023 – Zoo Atlanta announces a commitment of support for six conservation programs protecting wildlife in Malaysia, Nepal, Madagascar, Cambodia, and two locations in mainland Africa in the new year. Projects for three Asian hornbill speciesred pandasradiated tortoises; clouded leopards; western lowland gorillas and central chimpanzees; and drill monkeys are the 2024 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.  

“Partnership is a key aspect of our Conservation Strategic Plan, which holds that a big-picture strategy is essential to the long-term success of any conservation effort,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “We are pleased that our Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund is able to support six projects, all championed here at home by Zoo Atlanta team members, that are making a difference for animals in the wild.”  

Programs slated for 2024 support from the Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund are as follows:  

Gaia – Malaysia  

Funding from Zoo Atlanta will aid in the construction of artificial nest sites; monitoring of nest sites and restored tree cavities; and training for local people to climb into the tree canopy to restore tree cavities. The project, which will benefit endangered wrinkled hornbills, vulnerable rhinoceros hornbills, and critically endangered helmeted hornbills, was proposed by Lauren Wilson, Curator of Birds, and Sam Grabarz, Bird Keeper.  

Red Panda Network – Nepal  

Funding from Zoo Atlanta will establish greenhouses and a shed house in eastern Nepal in continuing support for reforestation in degraded red panda habitat. While red pandas are the target species, the project also benefits other species native to this ecosystem, including Chinese pangolins, musk deer, dholes, leopards, and Himalayan black bears. The project was proposed by Kenn Harwood, Curator of Mammals.  

Turtle Survival Alliance – Madagascar  

Support from Zoo Atlanta will assist the Turtle Survival Alliance’s veterinary program in testing, examinations, and analysis to ensure that critically endangered radiated tortoises, previously confiscated from the wildlife trade and slated to be rewilded, are physically fit enough to be reintroduced to the wild and will not present disease threats to existing wild tortoise populations. The project, which will also benefit critically endangered spider tortoises, flat-tailed tortoises, and plowshare tortoises, was proposed by Kate Leach, DVM, Associate Veterinarian.  

Wildlife Alliance – Cambodia  

Funding from Zoo Atlanta will support the Veal Pi Ranger Station’s anti-poaching efforts in a high-density area for vulnerable clouded leopard populations in the Cardamom Rainforest, an ecosystem which also supports many other threatened mammal species. The project was proposed by Michelle Elliott, Mammal Keeper.  

Goualougo Triangle Ape Project – Central Africa  

Support from Zoo Atlanta will assist in mitigating 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.  

Pan African Sanctuary Alliance Green Project – Cameroon  

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 Pam Miller, Small Primate Keeper.   

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 zooatlanta.org/conservation 

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