Quarters for Conservation is an exciting program that raises money to support wildlife conservation all over the world!
Upon entry to the Zoo, each guest is given a token representing 25 cents and asked to “vote” for their favorite project or organization at the Quarters for Conservation station. Additional contributions can be made with legal tender coins or bills. Three projects are featured at a time, rotating every three months.
Zoo guests funded the following projects in 2017:
Dominica Sperm Whale Project
Sperm whales, which can reach 60 feet in length and weigh up to 45 tons, were historically hunted for their spermaceti—a substance that fills their massive heads which may be used to regulate buoyancy. Though this practice ended decades ago, threats such as ship strikes, entanglements in fishing gear and environmental pollutants persist today, and long-term monitoring has shown populations are declining as much as four percent per year. The Dominica Sperm Whale Project is an innovative and integrative study of these deep ocean divers and the first to follow specific pods throughout the years. Funds from Quarters for conservation will support research, public outreach, media relations and local conservation projects intended to protect sperm whales.
Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project
The dugong is found in warm coastal waters of the Indian and west Pacific oceans. Related to manatees, they are similar in appearance and behavior, except for their fluked tail. The last viable population of dugongs in Africa is found along the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique, where unsustainable fishing practices have led to the demise of vital seagrass habitats. The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project is working with local fisherpeople to collect population data using mobile phone technology. Quarters for Conservation funds will help researchers continue focusing on sustainably conserving the seagrass habitat and saving dugongs in this region.
The Whales of Guerrero Research Project and Oceanic Society
Barra de Potosí is a coastal gem in the southwest Mexican state of Guerrero, where humpback whales breed each winter and pods of dolphins frolic year-round. The fishing industry that has supported this area for years is currently in a state of collapse due to declining fish populations, likely caused by climate change and an increase in gillnet fishing. Because marine mammals are so popular with tourists, the community is attempting to revitalize its economy through sustainable dolphin and whale-watching practices. The Whales of Guerrero Research Project and Oceanic Society have learned the whales in this region are part of the endangered Central America humpback group, which only has about 400 individuals left! Marine mammals have never been studied in Guerrero, so there is little government support, but these dedicated conservationists aim to change that. This organization has laid a strong foundation and funds from Quarters for Conservation will allow them to continue research, education and providing the community with jobs.
The Zoo seeks holistic projects that incorporate the community, education, and wildlife conservation. Although we recognize that research is a critical step in conservation initiatives, preference is given to projects with a significant conservation action component in addition to research. The Zoo does not support graduate research projects unless applicants are affiliated with an established non-profit conservation organization.
Brevard Zoo’s Wildlife Emergency Fund (WEF) is a small grant program that provides emergency funding of up to $2,500 to address severe and time-sensitive threats to wildlife. Emergency funding is focused on saving wildlife impacted by natural or unforeseen man-made catastrophes such as earthquakes, flooding, fires, severe storms and unanticipated devastating habitat destruction.
If the threat to wildlife is ongoing, please apply from a grant from Quarters for Conservation, not WEF. Research and awareness/outreach/education programs will not be considered for WEF. Support is intended for short-term emergency action.
This program has been made possible by the fundraising efforts of Zoo staff and volunteers.