Conservation at the Zoo
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which requires us to hold wildlife conservation and conservation education as primary missions of our zoo.
As part of this commitment, the zoo, Friends of the Zoo and our chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers annually contribute to in situ (in the wild) conservation projects working on the ground in the native countries of endangered species such as Asian elephants, red pandas, Panamanian Golden frogs, radiated tortoises, and many species of big cats and primates.
Conservation partners we support include: the International Elephant Foundation, the Red Panda Network, the Snow Leopard Trust, Wildcats Conservation, Komodo Survival Program, Amphibian Ark, AZA SAFE, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Global Conservation, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Biology Institute. More than $12,000 was donated to these organization in 2022.
The zoo’s “Round Up for Conservation” program at The Curious Cub Gift Shop also has been raising money for conservation since 2014. Our gift shop staff ask customers if they would like to “round up” their purchase to the nearest dollar, with all proceeds donated to a long list of conservation projects. Thanks to our supporters who routinely say "Yes," this program raises over $10,000 a year for conservation in the wild!
Besides supporting conservation efforts around the globe, we also practice conservation on site at the zoo -- through recycling programs, sustainable sourcing of the food that we feed our animals and sustainable infrastructure projects that help protect the planet starting with our own backyard.
GREEN ELEPHANT POOL
Besides the "green" roof on the elephant barn, the zoo also boasts an eco-friendly watering hole at the Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve. The 50,000-gallon elephant pool has a bio-filtration system that produces zero impact on municipal storm and sewer systems. As one of the first of its kind, the pool was the subject of a special presentation by Zoo Director Ted Fox at the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' 2017 national conference in Indianapolis.
SAVE THE RAIN
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to five projects by Onondaga County's Save the Rain program that collectively save millions of gallons of water each year from overflowing our local storm water systems and potentially polluting local waterways and Onondaga Lake. These include porous pavement throughout the zoo parking lots and the zoo courtyard that prevent rainwater runoff, rain gardens around Primate Park, rain barrels and cisterns to harvest rooftop runoff, wetlands on the Wildlife Trail and around the Waterfowl Pond, and a 9,000-square foot Green Roof atop the elephant barn. Learn more at savetherain.us/rosamond-gifford-zoo.
The Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Central New York maintains a pollinator garden on our Wildlife Trail that is a certified Monarch Waystation. The club tends the garden spring through fall of each year and it attracts many butterflies and bees while educating the public about the importance of pollinators.