International Elephant Foundation
The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) is composed of a group of Association of Zos and Aquariums zoos and other elephant facilities whose resident elephants are wildlife ambassadors helping to educate the public and raise valuable support dollars for elephant conservation. [more…]
Paul Grayson, Zoo deputy director and senior vice-president of conservation and science, serves on the IEF board of directors. In 2011, the IEF provided a total of $230,000 in support of elephant conservation.
Projects related to African elephant conservation include programs that combat poaching and protect wild populations throughout Africa, dissemination of research results utilized by conservation policy decision makers and education programming for various audiences including those who live in elephant range countries. Another valuable program funded by IEF is the "My Elephant Neighbor" program in West Africa. Through this program, thousands of children and their teachers have been able to learn about local elephants. Not all African families are aware of elephant conservation needs and this program utilizes the powerful voice of children to carry that message home to their parents. [close]
International Iguana Foundation
The Indianapolis Zoo invests in the International Iguana Foundation (IIF) which brings together the collective resources of 16 zoo and reptile conservation organizations and supports programs that have a positive impact on iguanas in the wild. Several IIF projects raised newly hatched iguanas and released them in to the wild when they were old enough to survive. The foundation has also supported relocation of iguanas during a mice eradication program on three islands in the Bahamas. [more…]
The Zoo has earned international recognition for its successful breeding programs for rare iguanas. Under its Project Iguana conservation and research initiative, in August 1995, the Indianapolis Zoo became the first zoo in the world to successfully hatch the endangered Grand Cayman Island blue iguana, and additional hatchlings were born in 2002 and 2003. In 2006, the Zoo was the site of the first hatchings of the extremely endangered Jamaican iguana.
The Zoo was
also one of the first to breed the Ricord's, Cuban ground, and rhinoceros iguanas. The Zoo has also continued its financial and technical support for the endangered Jamaican iguana, the second rarest lizard in the world. Due to its rarity and genetic importance, these iguanas must live in an environment free from disease and injury. For this reason, they are not on exhibit in the biome. Located behind the scenes, the animals are closely monitored by Deserts Biome staff. [close]
International Rhino Foundation
Rhino poaching has hit a critical level—Reuters reports a 50 percent increase in South Africa alone in 2013. Reports of at least 1,000 rhinos were poached for their valuable horns last year. The horns often end up in Southeast Asian medicinal markets. The Indianapolis Zoo recognizes this threat and gives annual funds to the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) to help conserve black and white rhino populations. [more…]
Our support helps IRF fight poaching and efforts to increase rhino population growth. Some of the funding has helped provide basic equipment such as binoculars and fingerprint kits that are crucial to identifying and prosecuting poachers.
The Indianapolis Zoo also supports rhino conservation through the annual Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser presented by the local chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers each
Madagascar Fauna Support Group
The Indianapolis Zoo has a long history of working with the most iconic animals from the island nation of Madagascar – the lemurs. Sadly, all lemur species in Madagascar are endangered, and the Zoo is supporting the efforts of the Madagascar Fauna Interest Group (MFG) to try to save them and their habitat from destruction. [more…]
The unstable and challenging political situation in Madagascar resulting from the 2009 coup required shifting of many of the research resources of the MFG towards protection and patrolling of the Betampona reserve areas. Conservation agents successfully redirected their work and saved this reserve from large scale removal of rosewood and lemur poaching, which is unfortunately more common in unpatrolled areas. [close]
Polar Bears International
The Indianapolis Zoo was awarded the Paw of Approval Award in April 2011 by Polar Bears International, a polar bear research and conservation organization. The Zoo has been an arctic ambassador for Polar Bears International since 2010 and was recognized for its efforts in polar bear conservation. [more…]
The Indianapolis Zoo proudly serves as an arctic ambassador for Polar Bears International. The Zoo had the honor of presenting a Paw of Approval award to a local business, Cummins Inc., who is a leader in energy conservation. The Paw of Approval award was presented to Cummins Inc. at an assembly at Central Middle School in Columbus, Indiana. Cummins Inc. has shown outstanding leadership in the area of environmental stewardship. Just one facet of their energy conservation mission, that involved more energy efficient lighting, will result in the reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,500 metric tons.
An international jury of conservationists selected Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, senior scientist of Polar Bears International, as the winner of the 2012 Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation. Dr. Amstrup's efforts on behalf of saving these endangered animals are legendary, and this award will help him spread the word on what we all can do to protect the habitat polar bears need to survive. [close]
Tarangire Elephant Project
The Indianapolis Zoo has been providing financial support to Tarangire Elephant Project and its director, Dr. Charles Foley since 2007, for his amazing work to fit together the puzzle of establishing corridors through rapidly expanding settlement areas in Tarangire (Tanzania) so that elephants and humans can live side-by-side. Totaling more than $300,000, the impact of this support has been outstanding. [more…]
Through the comprehensive strategy that Dr. Foley has implemented, his team has come to know and be able to identify more than 700 of the estimated 2,500 elephants living in Tarangire National Park.
Agreements with villages have resulted in the establishment of corridors through village lands to allow the elephants to move out of the Park into calving grounds vital to the long term survival of the population. The Zoo's support pays for the game scouts that track these elephants, as well as travel and communication with the local villagers to maintain these easements.
A unique fundraiser that involved the 2012 Super
Bowl hosting in Indianapolis netted nearly $100,000 in additional funding for the project from the Zoo. Dr. Foley started using these funds in 2013 for a whole new tracking project that greatly enhances his ability to determine the migratory patterns of the elephants. For a comprehensive report on the Tarangire Elephant Project's work in 2012, read their annual report.
Special: Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the 2010 Indianapolis Prize honoree, is partnering with the Mara Elephant Project to try and save the threatened elephants of the Maasi Mara, a project also supported by the Indianapolis Zoo. Watch a fascinating video that details the work of these dedicated individuals who are committed to the conservation of elephants. [close]