It’s finally fall, which means more pumpkin-flavored things, less heat (hopefully!) and three new Quarters for Conservation (Q4C) projects to vote on. For the next three months, your vote will support a project of your choice: bat conservation in Africa, research on a new manta ray species in Florida or woodrat tracking down in Key Largo!
Boo! Though in the United States, we often look at bats in association with Halloween, the mammals have been long overlooked on the African continent. There are over 250 unique species of bats in Africa, but very little is known about their ecology, behavior or where they move. AfricanBats NPC aims to conserve the diversity of Africa’s bats by educating their people and government officials. By supporting this effort, we can allow AfricanBats to assist in training African bat biologists to undertake research which will help the management and conservation of these special creatures of the night.
Florida hosts the largest aggregation of manta rays in the United States; however, there had been no dedicated manta research in the state before Marine Megafauna Foundation’s Florida Manta Project. Q4C funds will be used to study the ecology and biology of a new manta species, of which almost nothing is known, and develop guidelines to mitigate human interactions such as those that cause injuries from boat propellers and fishing line entanglement, as well as educate the community about manta conservation.
The Key Largo woodrat (KLWR) is one of the most endangered mammals in Florida. More than two-thirds of the KWLR’s historic habitat, tropical hardwood hammock, has been lost to development. Though several agencies and volunteers have implemented conservation strategies for these bulgy-eyed rodents, Michael Cove, Ph.D. of North Carolina State University will use funds to track the woodrats in order to better understand their movement and behavior in the remaining habitat. By doing so, Dr. Cove can facilitate the colonization of unoccupied habitats for these mammals.
Your admission to the Zoo already helps these projects—25 cents from each admission (and five dollars from each membership purchased) goes towards Quarters for Conservation. On every visit to the zoo, you’ll receive a “quarter” token to use to cast your vote for whichever conservation project most inspires you. If you’re extra passionate about any of the projects, feel free to drop in “real” quarters or dollar bills! Together, our small corner of the world can help make a large impact on conservation everywhere.