We’re more than halfway through 2019 and visitors are continuing to vote for which endangered species conservation project they want us to support – with Tasmanian devils currently out in the lead.
As part of our commitment to conservation we’ve pledged to donate £12,000 to three hugely worthwhile projects at the end of the year – Tasmanian devils, Pangolins and Helmeted hornbills – but we’re asking visitors who add the 10 per cent voluntary Gift Aid donation to their zoo entrance to decide which one gets the most money. The winning programme will receive £10,000 (made up of £2,000 each year for five years) while the other two receive a one-off payment of £1,000.
The three conservation projects are:
The eye-catching Helmeted Hornbill is a critically endangered bird. For centuries tail-feathers, heads and its distinctive red helmet have been used in ceremonies and as decorations.
The helmeted hornbill can be found in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia and is already considered extinct in Singapore. Now the Helmeted Hornbill Working Group has launched a 10-year conservation strategy and action plan to prevent hunting and introduce better law enforcement to crack down on the illegal trade across Asia.
Pangolins, or scaly anteaters as they are otherwise known, are unique mammals covered in hard scales and are the world’s most illegally trafficked animal for food and traditional medicines.
They are poached and illegally traded in huge numbers in Asia, while in Africa they are hunted for bushmeat and use in traditional African medicine.
The IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group conserve pangolins and plans to boost conservation research, create wild strongholds, change international legislation and help re-educate communities that consume pangolin by-products.
The world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, the Tasmanian devil is threatened with extinction from Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). Funds would help The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) monitor current devil populations, preserve two healthy groups on isolated islands, support genetic research and promote captive breeding to restock devil numbers.
DZG Conservation Officer Chris Leeson, pictured above, said: “As a modern zoo, as well as helping the wild cousins of our captive animals, we also feel it’s important to support animals we don’t have here.
“The three species we plan to support are extremely endangered, perhaps many people may not even have heard of them, but we wanted to shine a light on more obscure creatures which need our help.”