It is a program that enables Zoo guests to easily contribute to the Maryland Zoo’s efforts to save species from extinction. You can become an everyday conservationist by simply rounding up your purchases to the next dollar amount when visiting the Zoo gift shop. If your total purchase is $10.54, and you say, “YES!” to rounding up, 46 cents will be donated to the Zoo’s conservation initiatives. It’s really that simple!
The Maryland Zoo saves wildlife and protects wild places through numerous ongoing conservation initiatives. Learn more about the projects your contributions support below!
Since the 1990s, The Maryland Zoo has established itself as an international leader in the breeding and care of the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog. At the Zoo’s Panamanian Golden Frog Conservation Center, we continue to breed these frogs successfully while also pursuing research to advance their husbandry and veterinary care in North American zoos and at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (EVACC), our partner institution in Panama. This research is adding to collective knowledge of the species and paving the way for future reintroductions of Panamanian golden frogs into the wild. The species is nearly extinct throughout its native range, making the Zoo’s conservation efforts all the more crucial to its ultimate survival.
The Maryland Zoo manages the largest colony of endangered African penguins in North America. Over the past four decades, the Zoo has established one of the most successful breeding programs in the world for this species and has developed effective protocols to guide management and care. The Zoo maintains an active and longstanding conservation partnership with SANCCOB, the internationally renowned seabird rescue and rehabilitation facility headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa that arguably has done more than any other entity in the world to reverse the decline of wild African penguins. The Zoo is also involved in leadership roles on multiple fronts in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ S.A.F.E. African Penguin Conservation Action Plan, which seeks to protect African penguins through coordinated conservation action, leveraging of wildlife expertise, and public engagement.
Founded in 1986 and headquartered at The Maryland Zoo for many years, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) – a.k.a. Gorilla Doctors – is one of the most successful and innovative wildlife projects in the world. It provides health care and life-saving medical procedures to endangered mountain gorillas living in the mountains of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Zoo continues to support MGVP in its quest to slowly but surely bring mountain gorillas back from the brink of extinction in central Africa. MGVP serves as a model not only for wildlife medicine but for building sustainable partnerships with local people and cultivating respect and protection for wildlife.
The Maryland Zoo has a long history of caring for African elephants and is committed to their survival in the wild. This survival depends upon knowledge of elephant biology and behavior that will guide conservation priorities and management decisions. Such knowledge comes through research, and the Zoo actively collaborates in several African elephant conservation and research studies. Because elephants in zoos are more approachable and cooperative than their wild counterparts, they are immensely valuable to research efforts. The Zoo supports the work of several Africa-based conservation partners. Current initiatives are focused on better understanding and protecting bull elephants and developing means for local people to live safely and peacefully near elephants.
The Maryland Zoo promotes the conservation of polar bears through research, education, and ongoing collaboration with Polar Bears International (PBI), the world’s leading polar bear conservation organization. PBI is dedicated to saving polar bears by saving their sea ice habitat, which is rapidly receding due to global warming. The Zoo supports the work of PBI through funding, education programs, and staff expertise and involvement. The Zoo also helps advance scientific understanding of polar bears through its participation in research studies.
The Maryland Zoo is committed to preserving all wildlife, including native wildlife, and to this end maintains a strong working relationship with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Zoo participates annually in DNR’s Black Bear Project, sending a veterinary team to western Maryland to work side by side with DNR colleagues, lend support to an important wildlife management program, and contribute to the conservation of the American black bear, a flagship native species. The Zoo also works closely with DNR to monitor and protect other native species, including endangered bog turtles, brown pelicans in the Chesapeake Bay, snowy owls wintering in Maryland, and Eastern box turtles in Druid Hill Park.