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.
The Congo Basin has long been considered a stronghold for gorilla conservation, but these African apes live in a rapidly changing landscape. GTAP's efforts combine applied conservation research of the gorillas and chimpanzees whose populations overlap areas of active logging with data of the industry to define the characteristics necessary for "high conservation value" forests.
The project conducts health monitoring and assesses risks of disease transmission, while also advancing professional development in local educational outreach. GTAP staff provide training in research, project management and the skills to interact with regional and international conservation work. [close]
Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center
The Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center's mission is to identify and protect Indiana's unique natural areas and the rarest species. To do this, the organization collects information to systematically rank elements of diversity that are meaningful on both a national and international scope.
The project lists stoneflies — an important water quality indicator species — from Indiana and assigns Heritage state ranks, additionally increasing the knowledge base of macroinvertebrates like mayflies and dragonflies. [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.
Dr. Rob Shumaker, Executive Vice President and Zoo Director, 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 Species Survival Commission. The SSC works as part of specialist groups, Red List authorities, on task forces and sub-committees. The Chair and office provide support and leadership over the global network to prompt actionable conservation on the ground, including governmental work, collaborations between IUCN programs and commissions, regional and national consultations and fundraising. [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. The Indianapolis Zoo supports both field research of this group of apes as well as providing funds for a reforestation initiative to sustain healthy habitat for generations to come.
You can learn more about the Kutai Orangutan Project at the Indianapolis Zoo's Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center. [close]
Northern Rangelands Trust
The Ishaqbini region of Kenya is home to rare hirola, Africa’s most endangered antelope. The Northern Rangelands Trust is dedicated to monitoring hirola and increasing awareness of this critically endangered species’ plight within local communities.
In 2012, a hirola population in the area was moved into a 3,000 hectare predator-free sanctuary — the first fenced sanctuary on Kenyan community land dedicated for conservation. The community set up a grazing committee to account for livestock competition and assigned rangers to oversee protections and education efforts. Since then, successful births have made the population double.
Indianapolis Zoo funds support operations of the Ishaqbini Conservancy and sanctuary management. The Zoo helps sustain sanctuary and conservancy operations; improves habitat in the sanctuary and grazing management in the wider conservancy; supplements the free-ranging hirola population through releases of individuals from the sanctuary; and establishes disease surveillance and a livestock health program. [close]
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
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.
Since 2015, the Zoo has provided funding for the Sikundur Monitoring Post, located within the Gunung Leuser National Park and larger Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area.
The Post focuses on behavioral research, in addition to monitoring and protecting the habitat of this vital area. [close]
Tarangire Elephant Project
For Dr. Charles Foley, Director of the Tarangire Elephant Project, few countries in the world can match Tanzania for its diversity of wildlife. That's a key reason he and his wife Lara, manager of the Project, have spent the last 25 years living and conducting research in the Tarangire ecosystem.
Since 2007, the Indianapolis Zoo has provided annual support for the Tarangire Elephant Project and the Foley's efforts to conserve elephants and their habitat. Charles, Lara and their two young daughters follow the lives of more than 1,000 elephants within 32 family groups.
One of the Tarangire Elephant Project's major purposes is to protect migration corridors and dispersal areas — areas outside the national park where elephants move seasonally. These protected grasslands are a critical food source for wildlife, as well as for the local community's livestock. Free access to these areas for all of the species in the national park is essential for their continued conservation.
Despite poaching in other parts of Africa, Charles said the Tarangire elephants continue to thrive, with the local population estimated at about 4,200.
In 2016, funds also supported the start of a new program — the Ruaha Katavi Corridor expansion.
With attention given to the vast areas of woodland stretching between Ruaha National Park and Katavi National Park, the Foleys help ensure those populations are protected from both the pressures of poaching and habitat loss. With the parks more than 130 miles apart, focused efforts influence what may be not only the longest elephant corridor in East Africa, but one of the longest migration paths in the world. [close]
World Parrot Trust
Despite the capture of blue-throated macaws ceasing in the early 1990s, wild populations of the critically endangered species remain very low. Because of this, the World Parrot Trust has worked to protect the birds, understand their ecology and create successful reproductive recovery programs since 2001.
The project focuses on protecting wild nests from predators to ensure a higher percentage of young birds fledge, conducting habitat studies, monitoring breeding pairs and installing artificial nest boxes to eliminate some of the threats affecting wild populations. While building a captive breeding program based in Bolivia, the project is also dedicated to providing community education opportunities to further conservation as well.
The Indianapolis Zoo's support this year is helping build a field station in a new reserve to monitor the species. [close]
Past Support »