Zoo Atlanta World Wildlife Day | Quarters for Conservation

A quarter from each admission will go to conservation programs for wildlife.

ATLANTA — Editor’s Note: The above video is from a previous report.

Zoo Atlanta is celebrating World Wildlife Day with renewed conservation efforts to help save vulnerable animals beyond the Peach State.

To mark the occasion Thursday, zoo leaders announced the Quarters for Conservation initiative, which means 25 cents per admission would go to saving species that are seeing a population decline.

“It’s very important to us that our visitors know that in making the decision to visit Zoo Atlanta, they are doing more than enjoying a memorable experience and connecting with species from around the world,” said Vice President of Collections and Conservation Jennifer Mickelberg in a news release.

This year, the Quarters for Conservation program will support three projects, championed by Zoo Atlanta team members.

Guests who visit Zoo Atlanta will have proceeds from their ticket go to Colobus Conservation in Kenya. According to the zoo, the country’s local population of Angolan colobus monkeys has declined because of habitat fragmentation, largely due to increased traffic, exposed powerlines, and road construction.

Funds raised by Zoo Atlanta will help create 32 “colobridges” that will allow the monkeys to safely access forest areas on the other side of the road in Kenya. Zoo Atlanta is home to a troop of Angolan colobus monkeys, housed in the Monkeys of Makokou complex in the Zoo’s Ford African Rain Forest. The monkeys are classified as a vulnerable species.

Zoo Atlanta is famous for its western lowland gorillas. However, it is predicted the species could become extinct in about 20 years if population trends continue, according to the zoo. Conservationists add that in the wild, the biggest threats to their survival are habitat loss, poaching and disease.

RELATED: Zoo Atlanta mourns the loss of its oldest gorilla

This is why Zoo Atlanta is teaming up with Project Gorilla Fernan-Vaz (PGFV) in Gabon, Central Africa. The organization helps protect local gorilla habitats and runs a sanctuary that provides care and a new home for orphaned and displaced gorillas. Quarters for Conservation will help support conservation research and sanctuary operations, according to Zoo Atlanta leaders.

“Zoo Atlanta is home to one of North America’s largest populations of western lowland gorillas and has risen to international leadership in the care and behavioral study of these great apes,” a news release reads.

RELATED: Zoo Atlanta mourns loss of its 2nd oldest gorilla

Western lowland gorillas are an endangered species. Zoo Atlanta said 24 gorillas have been born in their facilities. Its staff is dedicated to researching and improving the care of gorillas in zoos, as well as understanding more about their biology.

Zoo Atlanta is also trying to help save African vultures and is donating admission proceeds to VulPro in South Africa.

“African vultures are in crisis,” a zoo spokesperson said. As a result of poisoning, poaching, habitat loss, and power line collisions, most vulture species native to southern Africa face a high risk of extinction in the wild—introducing an equally high risk for the ecosystems in which these birds are vital players. “

VulPro rehabilitation works to protect vulture populations and releases birds bred in human care back into the wild. Support from Zoo Atlanta will help expand VulPro’s breeding program to include hooded vultures and lappet-faced vultures, which are both housed in Georgia’s famous zoo. Both species are classified as endangered.

When purchasing admission to the zoo, guests can vote on where their proceeds go to. To learn more about the zoo’s conservation efforts, click here.

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