Join us on May 19th and 20th for wildlife Heroes weekend. On May 20th we welcome Jeff Flocken, co-author of Wildlife Heroes: 40 Leading Conservationists and the Animals they are Committed to Saving for a book-signing and presentations by zoo staff on the focus species of the book. Wildlife Heroes will be available for sale at the zoo on May 20th, quantities are limited! Books are also available for pre-order on the Houston Zoo website at: http://www.houstonzoo.org/wildlife-heroes/for a dicounted price until May 17th.
To give you an idea of the projects covered in the book, we thought we would highlight a few of the projects the Houston Zoo supports throughout the week:
Dr. Greg Rasmussen: Painted Dog Conservation
Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) was originally established as Painted Dog Research in 1992 by Dr. Gregory Rasmussen. During the first two years the human-induced incidents from snares, shootings and road kills accounted for 95% of all Painted dog (aka African wild dog) mortalities. Early public presentations showed prejudice and ignorance and it was clear that unless this situation was addressed, the species could become extinct. The initial emphasis was to identify the critical issues and develop a strategy that would make a substantial, lasting contribution to Painted Dogs, nature conservation and, very importantly, to the lives of the local people.
Today, PDC employs over 60 people from the local communities to run programs that ensure the survival of the Painted dogs and improvement the livelihoods of the local people.
PDC is a leading model for community-based predator conservation. By combining the most advanced modern technology with traditional knowledge of local communities, PDC has experienced great success – Zimbabwe’s wild dog population has increased from 400 to 700 individuals since the project’s inception. PDC’s model also brings direct benefit to local people with increased employment and unparalleled education opportunities.
Residents of PDC’s neighboring communities not only benefit from its programs but also actively contribute to them. For example, community members are employed in anti-poaching units and produce beautiful and unique art from the confiscated snare wire. They assist in systematic monitoring of the painted dog population and teach environmental educational. The active engagement of local residents empowers communities, strengthens conservation, and raises environmental awareness.
When you come to the Houston Zoo on May 19th and 20th for our Wildlife Heroes weekend visit the Painted dog exibit area, and try your hand at building your own snare wire sculptures. Wire sculpture building will take place at 10am until 12 pm on both days . Hope to see you there!
You can meet Dr. Greg Rasmussen at the 2012 Wildlife Conservation Expo on October 13th in San Francisco, CA