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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 



Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society


2  |  Conservation Report 2011

Connecting People We create compelling experiences that connect people with wildlife and inspire personal responsibility for conserving the natural world.

with Wildlife

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 


Conservation with a Big “C”

Conservation can mean different things to different people. To our children, it may mean using less water or singing a song that reminds them to reduce, reuse, and recycle. To a field biologist, it may mean protecting the last remaining individuals of an endangered species or working with communities to identify mutually beneficial ways to protect local biodiversity. To a zoo or aquarium, it may involve holding assurance populations of rare species or inspiring guests to take personal responsibility for protecting earth’s treasures. For Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Cleveland Zoological Society, conservation is about connecting people with wildlife.

Our interdisciplinary approach to Conservation encompasses five primary areas:

Zoos are poised to connect people with wildlife in a number of ways. At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Conservation (with a big “C”) serves as an umbrella for a variety of field conservation, science, education, and sustainability initiatives. Through this framework, every visitor, supporter, volunteer, and employee can trace a personal connection to the Zoo’s overarching Conservation mission.

Field Conservation

In all its forms, Conservation is about using and protecting natural resources in a way that will ensure they are present for many generations to come.

• Efforts that directly contribute to the long-term survival of species in natural ecosystems and habitats


• Hypothesis-driven scientific inquiry undertaken to advance basic knowledge or answer questions of applied interest

Population Sustainability

• Efforts that directly contribute to the maintenance of long-term, genetically diverse, and healthy zoo and aquarium populations

Conservation Education

• Creating opportunities for people to connect with, and advocate for, wildlife and wild places

Resource Sustainability

• Responsible use of all natural resources, as well as effective waste management practices, to minimize environmental impact

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Field Conservation People and Wildlife Sharing Resources People, wildlife, and habitat are intrinsically connected and fostering positive relationships between them is the key to successful conservation. The Zoo’s international conservation program operates in Africa, Asia and Latin America and concentrates efforts on the human-wildlife interface. The targets are wildlife protection, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, the sustainable use of natural resources, and building conservation capacity. Our focus is on projects with clear, long-term conservation implications and collaboration that benefits local people, wildlife and habitats into the future.

African Elephants

The Zoo promotes elephant conservation by supporting projects in Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. Research conducted on elephant ecology and habitat use helps to identify areas critical to elephants and how these areas can best be managed and preserved. Creating and protecting corridors connects vital habitats and allows elephants to move freely across the landscape to access changing food and water resources. Working with communities to mitigate elephant-human conflicts effectively addresses the often competing needs of elephants, humans and livestock. Key projects include: Tarangire Elephant Project In cooperation with local villages and landowners, more than 60,000 acres of elephant dispersal area have been protected through conservation easements. Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) Officially proclaimed in 2011 at nearly 170,000 square miles, it is roughly the size of Sweden and currently the largest conservation area in the world.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 

Andean Bears

Andean bears are a flagship for the unique and fragile tropical Andes ecosystem, the richest and most biologically diverse region on earth. This species faces a number of threats including habitat loss, conflict with humans, and insufficient scientific knowledge on existing bear populations. To design effective conservation plans for Andean bears, updated and accurate information on species distribution, abundance, and conservation status is needed. This important information is still lacking for many parts of the Andean bear range. Working in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and other partners, we are consolidating efforts around a common action plan and focusing on a specific long-term conservation goal for Andean bears. The action plan will produce an accurate and updated assessment of the distribution and status of the remaining Andean bear populations, through targeted research, exploration, and capacity-building projects.



In 2008, western gorillas were re-classified as critically endangered based on projected population declines. The primary threats to gorillas are loss of habitat, poaching, and disease. We support gorilla research and conservation projects in the Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic that address the multiple and complex issues that are key to the longterm survival of gorillas in the wild. Research on gorilla population ecology and behavior is necessary to inform conservation strategies that lead to the protection of critical habitat. Field research efforts are combined with capacity building and conservation education programs and often include employment and training opportunities for local people. The presence of these researchers and their camps in the forest also helps to decrease illegal activities such as logging and poaching in these areas.

6  |  Conservation Report 2011

The ATP works closely with Education for Nature–Vietnam (ENV). The goal of ENV is to raise public awareness and influence attitudes about the protection of wildlife and natural ecosystems. ENV’s Wildlife Trade Program directly addresses the underlying issues in tackling the illegal trade of wildlife in Vietnam by reducing consumption and demand for wildlife products, supporting and strengthening law enforcement, mobilizing public support and participation, and working closely with decision-makers to influence policy, legislation, and decisions relevant to the protection of wildlife. ENV’s Wildlife Crime Units operate toll-free hotlines for reporting wildlife crimes to facilitate and motivate public involvement in efforts to combat wildlife trade, and to improve the effectiveness of frontline law enforcement agencies.

Building Capacity

Freshwater Turtles

Tons of turtles are poached from across Asia daily for sale in food markets and for traditional medicine. The impact of this unsustainable trade has been a tremendous blow to turtle populations across Asia, and more than half of Asia’s 89 species are now endangered or threatened. The aim of the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) is to establish a safe and sustainable future for Asian turtles, and to ensure that no further turtle species become extinct in the region. The ATP implements strategic interventions that directly contribute to the conservation of Asian turtles, helping to ensure efficient use of limited resources, and developing capacity to promote effective turtle conservation. ATP activities in Vietnam focus on six critically endangered and endemic species, including the legendary Swinhoe’s softshell turtle in northern Vietnam, largely recognized as the most endangered turtle species in the world. The ATP carries out education and public awareness efforts, training for wildlife protection officers and forest rangers, student training and internship programs, and support for the rescue and management of turtles confiscated from the wildlife trade. The program also provides important technical expertise in support of turtle–focused projects and activities in the region.

Capacity building activities strengthen the knowledge, abilities, skills and tools of individuals and communities, improving their ability to effectively carry out conservation. These efforts focus on awareness building and educational opportunities, as well as training and professional development. Building capacity in conservation sciences, education, law enforcement, habitat and wildlife management, sustainability and other areas is critical for successful conservation. Providing support for in-country capacity-building efforts helps to train the conservationists of the future that will rise to the challenge of preserving the earth’s biodiversity. Zoo and Zoo Society support helped to make the following possible in 2011: • Shell casts for field identification of endangered Batagur turtles, Southeast Asia • 1st Borneo Carnivore Conservation Symposium, Malaysia • Amphibian Ark Husbandry and Conservation Training Workshop, Malaysia • “Rainforest Experience” field trips for children around Mefou National Park, Cameroon • New graphics for CERCOPAN Conservation Education Centre, Nigeria

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 

Regional Conservation

Zoo regional conservation efforts spur public interest and facilitate conservation action at the local and regional level to link inspiration to action — providing opportunities for the community to get involved in targeted habitat restoration and enhancement projects and citizen-science activities that benefit local habitats and native wildlife. Stewardship events, such as clean-ups and invasive species pulls foster participation and empower citizens to take positive action locally.

Plains Garter Snakes

The Plains garter snake is found exclusively at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, a protected reserve in north-central Ohio, which has the most extensive remaining wet meadow habitat in the state. The Plains garter snake is designated as state endangered and surveys conducted over the past few decades have revealed a sharp population decline. In 1999, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo became involved with the Plains garter snake project with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and other partners. The goal of this long-term and collaborative conservation plan is to maintain a self-sustaining population of Plains garter snakes in Ohio through captive breeding and head-starting techniques. Adult snakes are bred in enclosures and their live-born offspring are raised for one year before being released in the field. Snakes are tagged with pit tags and monitored via radio telemetry to determine dispersal and survival in the field. Recent research shows that when captive-born snakes are provided with food and temporary enclosures to give them a “headstart” in the wild, they are more likely to survive and nest in the area. To date, over 200 snakes have been released at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area.


Staff Highlight Leading Regional Conservation

The Zoo’s Regional Conservation Program is multi-faceted and interdisciplinary. It develops and supports field conservation in northeastern Ohio in concert with in-house scientific experts and key partners throughout the region. Conservation Coordinator Gayle Albers manages the Regional Conservation Program and serves a leadership role on technical advisory committees for a number of local conservation organizations, including Friends Gayle Albers of Big Creek, Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society, and the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity that collectively contribute to field-based conservation efforts on a regional scale. She also plays an active role in sustainability efforts and initiated a Sustainability Internship Program piloted by Baldwin Wallace College and Cleveland Metroparks that fosters park-wide sustainability initiatives. Gayle is committed to the health of the Big Creek watershed and partners with organizations like Friends of Big Creek to help improve regional stormwater management, watershed planning and habitat restoration. Watershed stewardship events like Big Creek Cleanup and the Great Lake Erie Boat Float draw attention to the problem of pollution in Northeast Ohio’s rivers and lakes. Volunteers participate in these projects to help clean up our waterways and create awareness about the health of our regional environment.

Citizen Science

Specially trained and certified research volunteers—known as citizen scientists—help monitor bird nest boxes at the Zoo through NestWatch, a monitoring project developed and managed by researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In 2011, a local Boy Scout troop partnered with the Zoo and the Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society to build and install nest boxes on Zoo grounds. Nest boxes provide homes to native cavity-nesting birds like tree swallows and wrens. The information volunteers collect as part of the Zoo’s NestWatch project is entered into a national avian online database. Scientists use these data to learn more about bird population changes and how climate change may impact bird behavior, such as earlier egg laying and migration. Projects like NestWatch underscore the Zoo’s commitment to understanding urban wildlife ecology in the context of a human-dominated landscape. Most importantly, participating in citizen science programs at the Zoo is a fun way to learn about regional wildlife.

8  |  Conservation Report 2011

Research People Using Science to Care for Wildlife It is the Zoo’s vision to serve as a center of scientific excellence by conducting research that addresses contemporary challenges in animal care, wildlife health, and population sustainability, and to provide training for future zoo scientists. By maximizing our resources and linking with key partners, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo continues to seek new and effective ways to encourage species-typical behavior, promote health, provide for the welfare of zoo animals, and conduct research that contributes to the enhancement of wildlife health and longevity of zoo populations. Science, Welfare, and Exhibit Design Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is participating in a collaborative study on elephant welfare funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences. As part of the study, veterinarians work with elephant care staff to collect blood and fecal samples for health and hormonal analyses. In addition, research staff collect video recordings of behavior and GPS bracelets permit tracking of movement. All of this information will be used to develop measures of welfare in elephants. This large-scale initiative complements efforts by Zoo staff and John Carroll University Master’s student, Emilie Simone, to scientifically evaluate elephant behavior, activity levels, and space use in the new African Elephant Crossing exhibit. The outcomes will be used to inform current management practices and future exhibit design at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and elsewhere.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 

Using Ultrasound for Black Rhino Reproduction Dr. Mandi Vick and the Animal Care staff at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo are using the latest techniques to ensure continued success in the Zoo’s long-standing black rhino breeding program. Keepers have trained females Kibibbi and Inge, to stand voluntarily for reproductive ultrasounds. Using ultrasound and hormone monitoring, the team can pinpoint when to pair each female with the male for breeding, and can diagnose and monitor pregnancy. In 2011 and 2012, we were able to diagnose and track a pregnancy. A recent donation of stateof-the-art ultrasound equipment has improved the team’s ability to perform exams. The staff’s expertise is key to the success of these endeavors and these techniques demonstrate the Zoo’s commitment to excellence in animal care.

Staff Highlight The Gorilla Health Project

The Gorilla Health Project aims to explore and ultimately prevent chronic heart disease and other medical issues that are prevalent among gorillas in North American zoos. The project began in 2007 with a small grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to establish a comprehensive database of health, husbandry, and nutritional information for all gorillas housed in AZAaccredited zoos. Dr. Pam Dr. Pam Dennis Dennis, with Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta and Dr. Tom Meehan of Brookfield Zoo, make up the team of veterinary advisors for the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP®). The vet advisors hope that this database will help unravel some of the health mysteries currently puzzling the zoo community. The project has expanded and now serves as an umbrella connecting several research initiatives aimed toward understanding the complicated relationships between captive care practices, gorilla health, and behavior.

Free-Ranging Wildlife Health Research

Graduate-level Training for Students A lot can happen in seven years. For Elena Hoellein Less, the time period between 2005 and 2011 was a period of significant growth and professional development. Like many other enthusiastic students, she came to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo seeking graduate training in biology to prepare for a career in zoo research and management. In 2011, she completed her doctoral dissertation and became the first Ph.D. produced by the graduate program in biology shared by the Zoo and Case Western Reserve University. The Zoo maintains additional partnerships with colleges and universities such as Cuyahoga Community College, Miami University, and The Ohio State University. These collaborations permit students to obtain scientific training in institutes of higher education while developing hands-on training in clinical medicine, conservation medicine, conservation education, and research that informs management of wildlife in zoos and in nature. In 2011, more than 40 students received graduate-level training from Zoo staff in the areas of conservation education, research, and veterinary sciences.


From investigating wood frog deaths in vernal pools, to assessing overall health of white-tailed deer, there is a lot of health research occurring in Cleveland Metroparks. Working closely with staff from Cleveland Metroparks Division of Natural Resources, Dr. Pam Dennis teaches students and volunteers to collect everything from blood samples to fecal samples from animals throughout Cleveland Metroparks. Information gleaned from these samples, and accompanying environmental data, provide a solid picture of the health of our local wildlife, and help us assess the overall health of the ecosystems in which they live.

10  |  Conservation Report 2011

Population Sustainability People Managing Wildlife in Zoos To maximize the full potential of conservation roles for zoo populations, the Zoo’s animals must be demographically robust, genetically representative of their wild counterparts, and able to sustain these characteristics for the foreseeable future. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo supports efforts to maintain sustainable animal populations by emphasizing cooperation with partners at the local, regional, national, and global level. These efforts are realized through participation in cooperative breeding programs and by facilitating research and management initiatives to improve the sustainability of populations in zoos.

The National Elephant Center

The National Elephant Center is the result of a unique collaboration among AZA-accredited zoos, individuals, and organizations that care deeply about elephants. Accredited zoos have long supported elephant conservation and research and now have come together to establish The National Elephant Center. The Center will be a professional elephant care facility focused on advancing the care of elephants in North America. Today nearly 290 elephants are cared for in accredited North American zoos. Each one serves as a vital, living link to elephants in the wild, directly inspiring people to care about their future. A collaborative effort with support from 73 accredited zoos, The Center will support population management for North American elephants at AZA-accredited zoos across the country; serve as a centralized training facility for elephant caretakers; contribute to husbandry research to advance elephant welfare; and participate in conservation projects in partnership with accredited zoos and elephant conservationists worldwide.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 

The Gorilla Species Survival Plan

Gorillas bring out the best in people. Not only do they capture the attention and admiration of zoo visitors, they inspire zoo professionals to share knowledge, information, and resources so everyone can provide the best possible care for all gorillas in zoos. Under the leadership of Dr. Kristen Lukas, Curator of Conservation and Science at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP®) is comprised of zoo professionals from 52 AZA-accredited zoos who cooperate in the collective management of 350 gorillas across North America. In 2011, the SSP published its Population Analysis & Breeding and Transfer Plan. Working together, Gorilla SSP institutions coordinate the transfer of gorillas between zoos, develop long-term strategies for managing male gorillas, and collaborate on research initiatives aimed at improving the health, behavior, and welfare of gorillas and sustaining the population for many years to come.

The Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo houses one of the largest and most diverse collections of prosimians in AZA-accredited zoos. Prosimians are a suborder of living primates that includes lemurs, pottos, bushbabies, and the aye-aye. They have unique housing and management needs compared to monkeys and apes. Zoo staff hold many leadership positions within the Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group (TAG). Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Curator of Animals Dr. Chris Kuhar is the vice-chair of the Prosimian TAG and helped create a population management plan for the TAG. Dr. Kuhar is also the chair of the pygmy loris Species Survival Plan® and created a breeding plan for that species in 2011. Associate Curator of Animals Tad Schoffner has been the studbook keeper for mongoose lemurs for 11 years and after creating the first Prosimian Husbandry Workshop, he consulted on a 2nd workshop in 2011. Successful management of captive species is a combination of leadership and partnering, and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo excels in both of these with prosimians.


Staff Highlight Building Bridges for Population Sustainability Zoos strive to maintain large, healthy populations of animals, often as insurance against catastrophic loss in the wild. However, many species in zoos do not breed sustainably. This means that some populations, especially hoofed animals (ungulates), are rapidly decreasing in number both in zoos and in the wild. One reason for decreased fertility can be maintaining animals in small, regional zoo populations Dr. Mandi Vick in North America. Small populations eventually lead to inbreeding and resulting loss of genetic diversity, infertility and susceptibility to disease. Dr. Mandi Vick (with Dr. Linda Penfold of the South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction and Conservation) has been working to establish relationships with population managers in the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) and to brainstorm ideas for managing animals in global “metapopulations” to improve health and reproduction rates. However, transporting animals globally for genetic management is expensive and can be risky. Dr. Vick hopes to use artificial insemination in endangered hoofed stock to augment natural breeding programs. Importing a frozen vial of semen rather than a live animal decreases costs and risk of disease transmission, and also reduces the need to transport animals over long distances. Dr. Vick and colleagues are proposing to use the critically endangered Persian onager as the first model for transporting semen from Europe for metapopulation management. With fewer than 1,000 onagers remaining in the wild, zoos have already been used as a resource for breeding and reintroduction in the wild. Therefore, maintaining a healthy, fertile, and genetically diverse population of onagers in zoos may be critical to the longterm survival of this species. We hope this first step will lead to long term relationships with European Zoos and new strategies for management of healthy, global populations of ungulates.

12  |  Conservation Report 2011

In 2011, the Zoo and Zoo Society awarded grants to more than 90 field conservation projects and programs in 39 countries around the world.

We support wildlife conservation through grants to conservation partners in the field. These funding programs support conservation, field research and educational or cultural initiatives that protect and conserve wildlife and habitats, positively impact local people, and create opportunities for building conservation capacity.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 


AFRICA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

ASIA • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

African Elephant Density, Community Ecology, and Wildlife Management - Botswana, Namibia Protection of Elephants and Prevention of Ivory Trafficking - Zambia PEACE (People and Elephants Amicably Coexisting) Project - Namibia Addressing Elephant Crop Raiding Around Kibale National Park - Uganda Mbeli Bai Gorilla Project - Republic of Congo Cross River Gorilla Project - Nigeria Western Lowland Gorilla Feeding Ecology at Bai-Hokou - Central African Republic Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center - Democratic Republic of Congo Cheetah Conservation and Human Impact - Kenya Kibale Fuel Wood Project – Uganda Managing Human-Elephant Conflicts with Young people - Uganda The Social Dynamics of African Wild Dog Pack Formation - South Africa Investigating the Risk of Disease Transmission Between Gorillas and People - Gabon Pathogen Transmission Between Wild and Domestic Ungulates - Kenya Building Capacity to Manage Captive Assurance Colonies of Amphibians - Madagascar Resolving Conflicts Between Humans and Large Carnivores - Tanzania Baobab-Elephant Relationships and Species Conservation - Benin PASA Educator and Veterinary Training Workshops - Uganda Rainforest Experience Education Program in Mefou National Park - Cameroon Improving the Cross River Education Centre in Calabar - Nigeria Tarangire Elephant Project - Tanzania Asian Turtle Program - Vietnam Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme - Malaysia Telemetry Study of Gharial in the National Chambal Sanctuary - India Efforts to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade on the Frontlines in Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam The Pika and the Watershed – China Movements and Survival of Saiga Antelope - Mongolia Saving the Orangutan Through Sustainable Livelihoods - Indonesia Genetic Tracking of the Tiger in a Fragmented Habitat – Nepal Conserving the Critically Endangered Philippine Forest Turtle – Philippines Behavioral Ecology of the Bornean Slow Loris and Bornean Tarsier – Malaysia Conserving Endangered Turtles along the National Chambal Sanctuary - India Borneo Carnivore Symposium in Kota Kinabalu - Malaysia Amphibian Ark Training in Kuala Lampur - Malaysia Mitigating the Impacts of Roads on Tigers - Malaysia

LATIN AMERICA • • • • • • • •

Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative: Pantanal Tapir Program - Brazil Research and Conservation of Endangered Sea Turtles in the Paria Peninsula - Venezuela El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center - Panama Manual for the Rapid Assessment of Andean Bear Presence and Distribution Andean Bear Explorations - Colombia, Panama, Ecuador Andean Bear Monitoring at Remaining Wilderness Areas in the La Paz Region - Bolivia Amazon “Adopt-a-School” Program - Peru ¡Amigos! A Partnership for Education - Peru


• Cricket Frog Population Health - Ohio • Coyote Ecology and Monitoring - Ohio • Polar Bears International Programs – Canada

Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia

The Scott Neotropical Fund The Scott Neotropical Fund grants program provides financial support for the work of native conservation scientists and students in Latin America. These grants help directly build conservation capacity in countries where it is needed, and empower people to address local, regional and national conservation issues. • • • • • • • • • • •

Designing a Strategy to Conserve the Jaguar - Mexico Effect of Climate Change on Sex-Ratio Population in Mexican Crocodiles - Mexico The Rufous-Legged Owl and Sustainable Forest Management - Chile Protecting the Pigmy Sloth of Escudo de Veraguas Island - Panama Amphibian Monitoring Through Acoustic Surveys - Uruguay Overcoming Barriers to Rain Forest Regeneration in an Agricultural Mosaic - Mexico Design of a Conservation Landscape in the Semiarid Chaco - Argentina Genetic Structure and Variability of Scarlet Macaw Populations - Costa Rica Ecology of the Monito del Monte - Chile Conservation of the Lake Titicaca Frog - Peru Investigation of Bycatch of Sharks and Rays Using Barcodes - Peru

14  |  Conservation Report 2011

Conservation Education Inspiring People to Protect Wildlife We believe that people, as lifelong learners, can positively impact wildlife and wild places through their caring, decision making, and actions. Our Conservation Education program fosters respect for, connections with, and appreciation of wildlife and co-existing human cultures. The Zoo’s programs are designed to help people think critically and scientifically about conservation issues and advocate for wildlife and wild places. African Elephant Crossing Education Program

In May 2011, sixteen new or greatly revised conservation programs were introduced with the opening of African Elephant Crossing (AEC). The AEC Education Program conveys the themes of elephant care and management, conservation, and sustainability and imparts a call to action to all of our Zoo audiences. Messaging connects Zoo guests with animals, reveals conservation issues, communicates the need for conservation actions, and provides opportunities to act immediately. The call to action focuses on two key behaviors: • Consuming responsibly when actions affect wildlife and wild places, and • Donating personal resources to conservation organizations. We measured one example of the program’s effectiveness in our Summer Day Camp for children ages 5 to 14. Results from the program evaluation indicated the following: • 35% of all campers thought there were things they could do to help elephants before they came to camp • 69% felt that they could do something to make a difference after attending camp • 73% planned to do something to help Ohio animals after attending camp Even more impressive is that 57% became advocates, stating that they planned to talk to an adult about how they could help the environment.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 


Staff Highlight Advanced Inquiry Master’s Program

Ohio Zoo Education Consortium

In September 2011, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo hosted a professional development and program planning session for 100 educators from different AZA-accredited zoos. The focus of the event was collaborative program development and research. The group reviewed the results of joint visitor research targeting how our guests value zoos as well as animal welfare studies comparing animals used in education programs and those on exhibit.

Professor Wylde

In 2011, the Conservation Education show staff performed 645 shows for 76,157 participants. This included a new show entitled “Wylde about Africa” at the Zoo’s Savanna Theater, as well as shows at Ballarat Theatre in Australian Adventure, Boo at the Zoo, Noon Year’s Eve and traveling shows. Studies showed that “Wylde about Africa” was effective in connecting Zoo visitors to wildlife and people in Africa. Show visitors understood why zoos like Cleveland Metroparks Zoo make important contributions to African animals in the wild through sustainable operations, education, conservation and scientific studies, all of which can contribute to a better future for wild elephants. Show attendees also felt that they could make a difference in helping African elephants and their habitat by taking just one action, and most reported that they would encourage others to do the same.

Many hours of planning, strategizing, and networking came to fruition in June 2011 when a group of future conservation leaders joined the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP), the Zoo’s new Master’s degree program co-delivered with Miami University’s Project Dragonfly. Education Specialist Katie Corr led this first cohort of teachers, college professors, environmental advocates, small business owners and other area professionals into Katie Corr their first year as AIP graduate students. Katie serves as course instructor and advisor for the group, introducing students to new concepts in scientific inquiry and helping them to discover their own voices for change. All 18 students made significant contributions to local conservation during their first semester. Projects in 2011 ranged from creating conservation lesson plans for the classroom, to engaging Zoo visitors in sustainability-themed activities, to initiating large-scale recycling programs at high school sporting events. Collaborations between Zoo staff and the full instructional team of Katie Corr, Vicki Searles, and Christine Korhnak have made it possible to offer hands-on educational experiences, enabling AIP students to take big steps toward a more sustainable tomorrow.

16  |  Conservation Report 2011

Resource Sustainability People and Wildlife Sharing a Healthy Planet Sustainability can best be defined as the use of resources in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the availability of resources for future generations. With an eye toward the future, the Zoo and Zoo Society are working to reduce our environmental footprint. Sustainability efforts at the Zoo include waste management, water and energy conservation, and a number of other “green” initiatives. We integrate these efforts throughout Zoo divisions, programs, and operations, and model best practices to engage the greater Cleveland community in behavioral changes that improve sustainability in the region. LEEDing the Way with African Elephant Crossing

African Elephant Crossing is on track to become the first major outdoor animal exhibit to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified through the U.S. Green Building Council, the nationally accepted construction industry standard for green buildings. LEED certification is based on a point scale assigned to various criteria in the design, construction and operation of the facility and involves standards for energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Some highlights about the project: • More than 90% of construction waste was recycled and diverted from the landfill. • About a third of the construction materials used came from recycled materials. • The water filtration system cuts water usage by 72%. • Innovative air systems reclaim over 75% of the heat from exhaust air. • Sustainability is a key component of exhibit graphics and programs.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 

Composting & Recycling

The Zoo has a successful on-site recycling and composting program. We process thousands of cubic yards of manure (from herbivorous animals such as elephants, giraffes, and rhinos), hay, straw, woodchips, and plant material each year. The resulting “Zoo Poo” is used throughout the Zoo and is also available for public purchase to benefit the composting program. On-site recycling efforts include appliances, batteries, cardboard, cell phones, computer equipment, fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), glass, inkjet & toner cartridges, metals, aluminum cans, pallets, batteries, paper, phonebooks, plastic, tires & vehicle waste. Recycling containers placed throughout the Zoo collect plastic containers, glass bottles, and aluminum cans from visitors and, concession vendors also participate in Zoo recycling and composting efforts. Visitors can bring recyclable materials to the Zoo any time during regular park hours. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), cell phones, cell phone batteries and accessories, and inkjet and toner cartridges are all accepted at the recycling exhibit in the Zoo Exhibit Hall. A community-wide paper recycling program collects office/school papers, newspapers, magazines, and phone books at designated “drop-off” sites on Zoo property. The Zoo is continually working to expand efforts in managing waste and is currently integrating food waste into the composting program.

Working Together

The Zoo is a participating member in the Cleveland Green Venues Initiative and the Ohio Zoos Green Consortium. Both groups support and enhance environmental sustainability and promote collaborative efforts among institutions. The goals are to foster information sharing, mentoring and peer-based learning, and provide leadership and promote sustainability in the region and the state. All institutions involved are working to lead by example and engage the community in green practices.


Staff Highlight Sustainability Hero As the Zoo’s Sustainability, Compost, and Recycling Coordinator, Nancy Hughes manages all resource conservation and management initiatives while working tirelessly to promote and improve sustainability at the Zoo. Her dedication to this cause has led to greater awareness of, and commitment to, sustainable practices. Nancy conducts waste audits targeted at expanding recycling efforts, manages the Cans for Conservation program, Big Nancy Hughes Creek Cleanup and America Recycles Day events at the Zoo and serves as a member of Cleveland Metroparks ECOTeam and chair for the Zoo’s Resource Management Committee. Nancy also provides workshops on recycling, composting, and sustainability for internal and external audiences, demonstrating how zoos can lead their communities in sustainability. Nancy’s leadership and determination are evident as she forges ahead with her vision for a zero-waste Zoo and her efforts epitomize the triple bottom line: benefiting people, protecting the planet, and making the Zoo a more prosperous place to work and visit.

With an eye toward the future, the Zoo and Zoo Society are working to reduce our environmental footprint. Cans for Conservation

The Cans for Conservation program was conceived in the spirit of sustainability. The Zoo collects and recycles aluminum cans on grounds and also encourages visitors to collect and bring aluminum cans for targeted can drives held throughout the year and at special Zoo events. On Father’s Day at the Zoo, collected cans are spread out and collectively crushed with a construction roller to illustrate that recycling can be fun and is an activity for everyone. The Cans for Conservation program recovered 2.34 tons of aluminum at the Zoo and an additional 1.31 tons off site, in partnership with Aramark and Blossom Music Center. The funds generated from aluminum can recycling at the Zoo support regional and international habitat and wildlife conservation projects. Cans for Conservation funds in 2011 supported a study on cricket frog population health in Northeast Ohio, coyote ecology and monitoring in Summit County Metroparks, and elephant ecology research in Southern Africa.

18  |  Conservation Report 2011

In 2011, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Zoological Society continued our commitment to conservation by supporting efforts that positively benefit wildlife and habitats around the world. In partnership with Cleveland Metroparks and the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers more than $484,663 was contributed to conservation projects and programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America.

Teamwork & Collaboration Just as sustainability initiatives run throughout all operations of an organization, so does support for field conservation at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Zoo provides funds that support staff travel to field sites and maintain regional conservation efforts. The Cleveland Zoological Society provides sustained funding to long-term conservation partners around the world. The Greater Cleveland Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers sponsors fundraising events and the Zoo’s Conservation Education division invites Zoo visitors to drop coins as one way to take action at animal exhibits. Such diverse funding sources and varied focus areas lend strength to our program and ensure widespread commitment to the Zoo’s important field conservation efforts.

Sources of Field Conservation Funds Disbursed in 2011 Cleveland Zoological Society Conservation Fund

$ 99,607

ZooFutures Fund

$ 48,000

Scott Neotropical Fund

$ 45,000

Restricted Conservation Funds

$ 136,582

Cleveland Metroparks Restricted Conservation Funds

$ 3,014

Gift Shop Conservation Fund

$ 31,000

RAIN Conservation Fund

$ 10,166

Zoo Staff/Program support

$ 89,613

American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK)

$ 21,681


$ 484,663

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society | 

Our Partners Action for Cheetahs in Kenya* Africa Matters* Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research Amphibian Ark Asian Turtle Conservation Network Association of Zoos & Aquariums AZA Ape TAG Conservation Initiative AZA Conservation Endowment Fund Baldwin Wallace College Brooklyn Centre Naturalists Butterfly Conservation Initiative Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Metroparks Cleveland Museum of Natural History - Natural Areas Cleveland State University CONAPAC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group Conservation International Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Cuyahoga Community College Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International EarthWatch Ohio Education for Nature – Vietnam* El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center Elephant Human Relations Aid Friends of Big Creek Gharial Conservation Alliance* HUTAN Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPE) International Elephant Foundation International Rhino Foundation* IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature John Carroll University Kent State University Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity Madagascar Fauna Group Malone University Miami University Monarch Watch New Nature Foundation Ohio Environmental Council Ohio Lepidopterists Pacific Wild Alliance* Pan African Sanctuary Alliance Peace Parks Foundation Polar Bears International* Snow Leopard Trust* The Ohio State University The Wilds Tree Kangaroo Conservation Project Turtle Survival Alliance* Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society WIDECAST – Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network WILD AID Wildlife Conservation Society World Association of Zoos and Aquariums *Also supported by The Greater Cleveland Chapter of AAZK



The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) is a nonprofit volunteer organization made up of dedicated animal care professionals committed to advancing animal care, animal welfare and conservation. AAZK members work with Zoo staff, volunteers and the Cleveland Zoological Society to promote and support conservation on-site and through off-site events and programs. AAZK sponsored events such as “Bowling for Rhinos”, animal art auctions and a conservation handicrafts holiday shop raise both funds and awareness for wildlife conservation efforts. The Greater Cleveland chapter of AAZK, one of the most active and successful in the nation, raised more than $21,000 for conservation in 2011 and is very active in Polar Bears International and the Turtle Survival Alliance.

Thank You

Mrs. Margaret Scott – The Scott Neotropical Fund George Garretson Wade Charitable Trust #2 Greater Cleveland Chapter American Association of Zoo Keepers Cleveland Zoological Society: ZooFutures Fund and Conservation Fund Anonymous donor – Regional Conservation Program

Images Courtesy of:

Mary Wykstra Tim Fullman Shelly Masi New Nature Foundation Education for Nature Vietnam Tim McCormack Ximena Velez-Liendo Dale McDonald Elephant Human Relations Aid Liliana Solano-Flórez

CONTACT INFORMATION Steve Taylor, Director, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Elizabeth T. Fowler, Executive Director, Cleveland Zoological Society

Dr. Kristen Lukas, Curator of Conservation & Science

Kym Gopp, Associate Conservation Curator

Vicki Searles, Curator of Conservation Education

Nancy Hughes, Sustainability, Compost & Recycling Coordinator

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo • Cleveland Zoological Society | 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109 (216) 661.6500

Conservation Report  

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society Conservation Report 2011

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