Goualougo Triangle Ape Project
The Indianapolis Zoo supports the ongoing goal of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project – to improve the conservation outlook of the Congo Basin's chimpanzees and gorillas through long-term applied research, enhanced protection of habitat, and strengthening of local capacity. [close]
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.
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 Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
The Indianapolis Zoo provides financial support to IUCN's climate change vulnerability assessment of tree species in Borneo. The assessment studies trees for viable species survival and builds local capacity for reforestation. [close]
Kutai Orangutan Project
The Zoo supports the Kutai Orangutan Project in the Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan, Borneo. The project started in 2009 in an effort to protect the seriously endangered orangutan population and recover the critical habitat that has been largely destroyed. The project is led by Dr. Anne Russon, who has studied orangutans for more than 30 years. The Kutai Orangutan Project site runs along the south side of the Sangata River and inland. This is an important site because it is vulnerable due to excessive clearing and people moving to the land. So far, the project has found more than two-dozen orangutans in this area. The Project says the orangutans are all healthy and reproducing normally. You can learn more about the Kutai Orangutan Project at the Indianapolis Zoo's Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center. [close]
Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary
An Eagle Scout project went to the birds … and the Indianapolis Zoo supported this young conservationist's venture.
High school freshman Matthias Benko's passion for birds began on a family vacation to Colorado at only 10 years old and became the focus for his service project, through which he hoped to showcase leadership in the world of conservation.
"No matter where you live you'll encounter nature," he said. "I feel like it's my duty to help protect and appreciate it."
Collaborating with the Indiana Young Birders Club and Indiana's Audubon Society, Matthias established a migratory songbird trail at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in Connersville, Ind. He constructed 40 predator proof nest boxes – installed on conduit posts around the property – and created informational pamphlets for visitors about the various types of birds living throughout the sanctuary.
While primarily having an educational goal in mind, Matthias hopes the birdhouses will encourage species to breed, ensuring sustainable populations for the area.
As part of a dedication to field conservation endeavors, the Zoo funded Matthias's project, and applauds his efforts to share his love of birds and protect local wildlife. [close]
The Nature Conservancy Gulf Project
may be landlocked, but Hoosiers can play a long-term pivotal role in providing
a healthy Gulf of Mexico for all sea life including dolphins. The Nature
Conservancy and the Indianapolis Zoo, both long known for leadership in
protecting nature across the globe, have partnered to increase public
awareness, support, and engagement in the Gulf of Mexico conservation program.
The Gulf has lost nearly 50 percent of its wetlands, 60 percent of its sea grass beds, and 85 percent of its oyster reefs. This is due in large part to pollutant nutrient runoff causing large areas of the Gulf to be uninhabitable for dolphins, oysters and other marine life. Unless this area is restored not only will cetaceans feel adverse conditions, but also the people who rely on the Gulf of Mexico for their livelihoods. Indiana plays a huge role in the pollution of the Gulf — identified as one of the states contributing the most excess nitrogen (11 percent) in the gulf creating oxygen-free dead zones. That means changes people make in Indiana can make a difference in the Gulf.
Indianapolis Zoo and The Nature Conservancy teamed up to develop and implement
programming for the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin program at the Zoo to increase
public awareness, including a video explaining how visitors can make a difference shown during
daily dolphin presentations in the Zoo’s Dolphin Pavilion. [close]
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) works to conserve viable populations of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans through habitat protection, reintroduction of apes from the pet trade, as well as scientific research and education.
In 2015, the Zoo provided emergency funding for the Sikundur Monitoring Post, located within the Gunung Leuser National Park and larger Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area.
The Post focuses on the conservation of orangutans and all animal biodiversity, in addition to the habitat of this vital area. [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.
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]