Mozambique, Africa – Ten years ago, Zoo Boise embarked on an innovative initiative, and became the first Zoo in the US to charge a conservation fee - a small charge (50c) that every visitor to the Zoo pays - has added up to millions of dollars in conservation grants to help protect animals all over the globe - From the Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel to the African Elephant.
“We have turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action,” says Steve Burns, Director. “Zoo Boise now serves as a way for people who love animals to help protect them in the wild.”
This year, Zoo Boise is getting ready to take wildlife conservation to the next level, and is soon to break ground on an exciting new exhibition that will bring Africa to Idaho, and potentially bring millions of dollars in funding to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.
A hugely successful capital campaign has raised almost $9 million dollars to pay for the exhibition - Funds gathered from Idahoan zoo-goers and donors. The 2.5 acre exhibition will not only feature animals local to the Park, including baboons, nyala and Nile crocodile, but it will also generate revenue for the Park programs in Conservation, Health and Education.
Idahoan philanthropist Greg Carr, in collaboration with the Mozambican government, is leading a multi-decade long conservation and human development project in and around the Park, which has seen a tremendous population boom in wildlife since the project began.
Greg Carr joined Boise Mayor David Bieter at the Zoo recently for a celebration and to thank Zoo Boise patrons for their contribution to global conservation.
“Our aerial surveys show that the number of large animals has increased about eight-fold in the last ten years,” said Carr. “Meanwhile, our agriculture, medical and education programs help more than 100,000 people who live near the Park. These traditional communities and Gorongosa National Park share the greater ecosystem. We see it holistically. If the Park helps the people, then they'll be motivated to support Park objectives. It creates a positive feedback loop. The support that comes from people visiting Zoo Boise has helped us make significant progress in the restoration of one of Africa’s greatest treasures and one of the most biologically-diverse parks on earth.”
Wildlife is rebounding in Gorongosa National Park - Photo courtesy Jen Guyton
Cover photo: Architectural rendering of future Gorongosa exhibit at Zoo Boise
About Gorongosa National Park and the Gorongosa Project
Gorongosa National Park is Mozambique’s premier wildlife national park located at the southern end of the Great East African Rift Valley. It is home to some of the biologically richest and most geologically diverse ecosystems on the African continent. Its border encompasses caves and deep gorges of the Cheringoma Plateau, vast savannahs of the Valley floor, and the precious rainforest of Mt. Gorongosa.
The Gorongosa Project integrates conservation and human development with the understanding that a healthy ecosystem will benefit human beings, who in turn will be motivated to support Gorongosa Park objectives.
For more information about Zoo Boise and its Gorongosa exhibition please visit: