MELBOURNE, Fla., January 9, 2016 — Three threatened species on two continents just got a much-needed helping hand from Brevard Zoo as recipients of the Zoo’s Wildlife Emergency Fund (WEF).
Spectacled Bear Conservation Society Peru is currently fighting wildfires that have already burned more than 50,000 acres of Andean bear and mountain tapir habitat. According to the Society, these fires were likely set by farmers operating under the local but mistaken belief that smoke changes the atmosphere to bring rain. The grant money will be used to contain the fires, purchase supplies, transport villagers and support educational efforts to prevent future wildfires.
In early December, 70 critically endangered Sunda pangolins were rescued by Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. The pangolins were trapped in Laos and en route to be sold in China for their meat, skin and scales. Each was bound tightly in a small net and force-fed, resulting in stomach problems and, for a few, the loss of legs or claws. The grant money will be used to rehabilitate and, hopefully, release the animals. Pangolins are widely considered the world’s most trafficked group of mammals.
Each organization was awarded $2,000. The WEF is a small grant program that provides emergency financial support to conservation organizations responding to natural or man-made catastrophes. This award is funded entirely by the sale of volunteer-made buttons; more than 60 varieties of buttons, each featuring a Zoo animal, are sold throughout the Zoo for one dollar each.
Brevard Zoo is home to more than 800 animals representing 180 species from all over the world. As a not-for-profit organization, it is a leader in the fields of animal wellness, education and conservation. More information is available at www.brevardzoo.org. Treetop Trek features five aerial obstacle courses that whisk guests above parts of the Zoo and through lush Florida landscapes. More information is available at www.treetoptrek.com.