The month of June officially kicks off the start of summer. The weather turns nice, and the kids are out of school. This is the perfect time for people to visit their local zoos and learn about all the species living in them.
June is also National Zoo and Aquarium Month. This month celebrates the role that zoos play in conservation, recreation and research. In honor of National Zoo and Aquarium Month, our team wants to share what we do to improve elephant conservation in zoos.
The role of zoos in wildlife conservation
Zoos do more than give people the opportunity to see their favorite animals up close and personal. They are also playing an important role in wildlife conservation, education and research. So how do zoos help conservation?
Well, accredited zoos have recovery programs dedicated to the overall and genetic well-being of endangered species. These programs aim to restore animals back to health so they can return to their natural habitats.
Zoos also do their part to support the end of illegal trade. Wildlife illegal trade is one of the biggest threats to wildlife. Due to this kind of trade, many animals have landed on the threatened or endangered lists.
How zoos help agencies that work to stop the illegal wildlife trade is by offering homes to animals. Some wild animals that are confiscated from illegal trade are unable to survive in the wild. So zoos take those animals and give them appropriate shelter.
For Elephants role in elephant conservation in zoos
At For Elephants, we work alongside zoos across the country to ensure that elephants are getting the best care they need. Right now, we work specifically with African elephants. We accomplish this through our care and specialized reproduction services.
Elephants are the world’s largest land mammal. Their size is what has helped them survive over the years. However, when in captivity, their size causes them problems. Elephants require lots of extra care.
At For Elephants, we help zoos give elephants the care they need. We conduct research in South Africa and use what we find to improve zoo management and exhibits so it reflects an elephant’s natural environment.
Specialized reproduction services
One issue that zoo African elephants are facing is high infertility rates. There are more elephant deaths than there are births. For every three births, there are five deaths annually.
Through our research, we have discovered that there is a correlation between the BMI and ovarian acyclicity of African elephants. Elephants with body condition scores higher than five were three times more likely to be non-cycling.
To help reduce the infertility rate in zoo elephants, we provide specialized reproduction services to zoos. We use our expertise in endocrine (hormones) to increase the elephant reproduction rate and improve the welfare of elephants in zoos.
How to support elephant conservation in zoos
If you want to help continue to support our work with zoos, join our “Herd of Heroes.” This program allows you to give a monthly donation to help us continue to provide care and specialized reproduction services for zoo elephants. Join down below!