Global Conservation Efforts
Peruvian Amphibian Population Assessment
The Detroit Zoo is involved in an assessment of amphibian populations in Amazonia Peru. The project includes field surveys to document species living in several sites along the Amazon and Napo rivers, testing for chytrid fungus, an amphibian disease that is wiping out amphibian populations throughout South America, and education of local people about amphibians. People living in and around the study sites assist with conducting surveys and be a part of conserving their unique and fragile environmental heritage.
The project will include educating adults and school kids on the importance of amphibians as bio-indicators and how important amphibians are in the web of life, and also dispelling myths about amphibians, such as that humans can contract diseases from toads. Changing erroneous and harmful public attitudes about animals is a critical step in saving wildlife.
The Detroit Zoo also supports the work of biologists and conservation organizations around the world. These and other, smaller projects, are examples of real world wildlife conservation efforts that demonstrate the global reach and impact of the DZS’ conservation programs.
Polar bears in the Chukchi Sea move freely across the international border between the U.S. and Russia, using both countries during important parts of their life history. Concurrent research in both countries is needed to understand the status of the entire population. The Detroit Zoo supports critical field research on polar bears on Wrangel Island, off the coast of Russia, which contains one of the highest known concentrations of polar bear cubbing dens. Information on population status and habitat use of this important international population is urgently needed to better understand how polar bears are faring as a result of climate change and increasing human use of bear habitat.
In addition to the captive amphibian programs at the National Amphibian Conservation Center and the local field programs for amphibians in southeast Michigan and Peru, the Detroit Zoo also supports the work of the Amphibian Survival Alliance, which develops and coordinates amphibian conservation efforts around the world, as well as species-focused projects through the Species Survival Programs for Wyoming toads, Puerto Rican crested toads, and Panamanian golden frogs.
Turtle populations in many countries are facing a crisis due to habitat destruction, trapping for the worldwide captive turtle trade and hunting for sale in Asian food markets. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 turtles are disappearing from the wild each day. The Detroit Zoological Society provides financial support for biologists working with the Turtle Survival Alliance to study and protect turtles in India and Southeast Asia.
The Detroit Zoo supports elephant conservation through its long term commitment to the African Elephant Conservation Trust, which initiates, supports and ensures the continuation of key elephant research projects across the African continent. The Trust is developed on the work of elephant expert Cynthia Moss who has studied and protected the elephants of Kenya’s Amboseli National Park for over 35 years.
Chipangali Wildlife Trust
The Zoo supports important research conducted by Chipangali Wildlife Trust’s research staff on the duikers (forest antelopes) of sub-Saharan Africa and on leopards, cheetahs and brown hyenas in Zimbabwe as well as the conservation and care of animals at Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Zimbabwe.