The Akron Zoo Summer
Saving Species Together
By Leah Owens
There are 230 zoos and aquariums that are currently accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), including the Akron Zoo. What does accreditation mean? We are held to extremely high standards for animal care and welfare, education, facilities and guest services. When you visit a zoo that has the seal of AZA accreditation, you’re supporting an organization that provides not only the best quality of care for its animals, but also works in the field to protect our environment and species in the wild.
Every year more people visit those 230 zoos and aquariums than attend all major sporting events, specifically around 183 million people. During that visit, we have the opportunity to educate our guests on what we are doing to save species, but also on what they can do themselves to protect animals in their own backyard and around the world.
The Akron Zoo believes that if we can help someone understand and care for an animal here at the zoo, it will translate into that person being more proactive in his or her everyday life. By getting up close to a lion or a jaguar, it creates empathy and a lasting connection for that guest. That connection leads to actions such as recycling, using a reusable water bottle, bringing reusable bags to the grocery store and more.
When the Akron Zoo talks about our actions to protect species in the wild, we’re talking about providing financial support for field conservation programs that focus on different species and work to find solutions to help save these species from extinction. For example, Rebuilding the Pride is an organization in Africa that is helping solve the problem of human-lion conflict, a conflict where lions are being killed to protect livestock. Rebuilding the Pride is not only educating people on how to avoid killing the endangered African lion, but helping them solve the problem by offering a solution – building bomas (enclosures) for the livestock to live protected from the threat of lions.
How can you take action to help save species? You don’t have to fly to Sumatra to work with Rhino International to save the Sumatran rhino from extinction. You don’t have to donate thousands of dollars to the Snow Leopard Trust to protect the wild snow leopard. Instead, say “yes” to the everyday tasks such as:
- Unplugging electronics when not in use
- Not idling the car when waiting
- Choosing to walk or bike instead of drive
- Saving your aluminum cans and dropping them off any day at the Akron Zoo. Those cans go towards our Cans for Corridors program that uses the money from the recycled cans to replant trees in the Brazilian rainforest, creating corridors for animals, like a jaguar or golden lion tamarin, to safely move from different areas of the rainforest.
- Signing up for an educational program at the Akron Zoo to learn more about what the zoo does for wildlife, and how you can apply it to your life. Programs vary from pre-school programs all the way to retirees. You can spend the night here at the zoo with your scout troop or church group at Snooze at the Zoo. You can sign your child up for ZooCamp programs during the summer. You can even have the zoo come to you with our ZooMobile. To learn about all the different programs available to you, check out akronzoo.org.
Every action, big or small, can help make a difference. Even visiting the Akron Zoo, or any other AZA-accredited facility, benefits not only species at the zoo, but also in the wild – a portion of your admission ticket goes towards field conservation efforts to protect animals in the wild.
Bring your family and friends to the Akron Zoo and make memories, all while helping to save species. Together, we can make a difference.
The Akron Zoo Summer