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Young Bornean orangutan

A young Bornean orangutan. Photo courtesy of Andrew Walmsey.

Time for Change!

Happy New Year! We’re excited to kick off 2018 with a new cycle of Quarters for Conservation projects. For the next three months, your vote will support a conservation project of your choice focused on lemurs in Madagascar, monkeys in Belize or orangutans in Borneo!

The Projects

Alaotran gentle lemurs are the only species of primate adapted to living in the reed and papyrus beds and are in and around Madagascar’s largest lake, Lac Alaotra, settled in the central-eastern region of the island. They inhabit one of the most restricted ranges of any lemur species, mainly on the southwest corner of the lake. Due to such a specialized habitat, this species of lemur is extremely threatened. The area around the lake is drained and burned for agricultural purposes and the lemurs are often hunted for food as well as the pet trade. The goal of Madagascar Wildlife Conservation is to protect the ecosystem of the Alaotra region by promoting initiatives that integrate conservation, education and development. Contributions from Quarters for Conservation will go towards educational workshops and a lemur festival to raise awareness in local communities.

Belize is home to two species of primate—the Yucatan black howler and Geoffroy’s spider monkey. Though globally endangered, the populations of these monkeys are especially pressured in Belize due to increasing tropical deforestation and the capture of young animals for the illegal pet trade. Wildtracks, a conservation nonprofit organization, works closely with the Belize Forest Department to enforce wildlife legislation. Their main focus is to develop and support conservation initiatives to increase the viability of primate populations in the country and prepare confiscated and rescued primates for reintroduction back into the wild. Wildtracks hopes to use contributions from Quarters for Conservation to engage and inspire Belizeans of all ages through action-based primate conservation activities that provide these endangered species with a brighter future.

Orangutans reside in lowland forests in Borneo, making nests in trees for sleeping at night and resting during the day. Bornean orangutan populations have declined by more than 50% over the past 60 years and their habitat has rapidly reduced by at least 55% just over 20 years. In northwest Borneo, their habitat has been severely affected by logging and hunting and the species is listed as critically endangered. Borneo Nature Foundation aims to develop a major conservation program with the goal of protecting and restoring this critical orangutan habitat. To do so, the entire landscape of the Rungan Forest, their primary objective area, must first be mapped and described, including orangutan population distribution and abundance. Funds from Quarters for Conservation will help finance survey logistics and personnel that will enable this organization to accurately document the region.

Cast Your Vote!

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.