Conservation Projects
Supported by the Zoological Society of Milwaukee

Great apes, black rhinos, African elephants, Amur tigers, Guam rails, whooping cranes—these endangered animals and many more get help from the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Learn about our conservation efforts. Click on a topic or an animal from the list below. You’ll get a synopsis of the conservation research or project. From there, you also can read past stories that have been written about the projects in Zoological Society publications. Meanwhile, for an overview:

Conservation—of animals and habitat—is one of the key missions of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM). For nearly a century the ZSM has supported conservation in a variety of ways:

  1. The ZSM’s own conservation programs. The key programs since 1996 and 1997 have been:

    1. Birds Without Borders-Aves Sin Fronteras®, which is a research-conservation-education project stretching from Wisconsin to the Central American country of Belize. The project has been run jointly with the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Inc. (FWC), but in 2009 the FWC is taking over management of the project; and
    2. The Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative (BCBI), which includes several projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Africa) helping both bonobos (rare great apes) and people living near these endangered animals.
  2. Milwaukee County Zoo projects that the ZSM supports financially. These include projects conducted at the Zoo as well as field projects that Zoo staff help with in other states and countries.
  3. Projects recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Milwaukee County Zoo is required by AZA to support conservation efforts in the field to help endangered species. As part of its commitment to support the Zoo, the Zoological Society provides funding to many of these conservation projects that the Zoo and AZA recommend, ranging from Amur tiger research in Asia to elephant studies in Africa.
  4. Projects by other conservation organizations. Two key groups that the ZSM and the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Inc., have supported over the years are the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and the Lewa Conservancy in Kenya (a wildlife reserve that protects elephants, rhinos, zebras and many other endangered animals). The ZSM also has worked actively with the World Wildlife Fund and other groups.
  5. Conservation grants for graduate students at Wisconsin universities. Over the years the ZSM and the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Inc., have provided thousands of dollars for graduate students to study conservation of wildlife from bats to prairie mammals.
  6. Dr. Gay R. Reinartz, the ZSM’s conservation coordinator, is also coordinator of the Bonobo Species Survival Plan of the AZA. The Zoological Society financially supports her work for the Bonobo SSP.
  7. Support for the Zoo as a sanctuary for animals that would have been killed or captured in the wild. From saving wild jaguars in Belize to breeding the most endangered birds in the world and re-introducing them into the wild, the ZSM supports the Zoo as a conservation sanctuary.

Additional Conservation Projects/Stories

A Jaguar Saved From Death - The Milwaukee County Zoo and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee help bring a jaguar to Milwaukee. 
Going Wild for Birds - Tips on how you can help birds in your own yard. 
Progress for Bonobos: An update on the Zoological Society of Milwaukee's efforts in Democratic Republic of Congo 
Rabies Mystery: A Milwaukee County Zoo staffer investigates the increase of rabies among common marmoset monkeys in Brazil. 
Belize: Taking on Conservation - Conservation projects on Runaway Creek Nature Preserve in Belize have provided a chance for Zoological Society staff to train 22 Belizeans to become conservationists 
Frogs - Fighting for Survival & Fungus Fear - Frogs at the Milwaukee County Zoo and some efforts to save them. 
Head Start on Life: The Milwaukee County Zoo gives ornate box turtles a head start and then releases them into the wild. 
Realm of the Jaguar - Studying wild jaguars in Belize 
A Blood Mystery: Finding the right blood tests to help endangered whooping cranes 
Fish, Frogs and Massasaugas 
Back to the Forest - A keeper from the Milwaukee County Zoo travels to the west Pacific island of Guam with three Guam rails raised at the Zoo to release into the wild. 
Mapping Bonobo Territory: The Zoological Society of Milwaukee's efforts to help bonobos in Africa 
They're Friends to Birds: Wisconsin landowners who help the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) with bird research 
Brazil Research Leads to New Path: A Milwaukee County Zoo staffer joins a Jaguar Conservation Fund study in Brazil 
Whooping Crane: An endangered whooping crane gets special treatment and a home at the Milwaukee County Zoo 
Congo Efforts Help Apes & People: the Zoological Society of Milwaukee's programs to help bonobos and people in the Congo 
Reptile Rescuer: Zookeeper Chad Pappas spends much of his free time in spring, summer and fall doing field research on endangered or threatened snakes. 
Aiding Animals in the Wild: Piping Plover Recovery and Support 
Celebrating 10 Years for the Birds: How the Zoological Society has helped migratory and resident birds through BWB-ASF 
Saving Jamaican Iguanas: A Zoo staffer helps save rock iguanas 
Studying a Damaged Coral Reef: A zookeeper joins a study in the Seychelles, islands in the Indian Ocean 
Crisis for Frogs: A Zoo curator battles a frog-killing virus 
Hey, Kids, Animals Need You: How to save animals through the ZSM's Kids Conservation Club 
Saving a Blue Beauty: Two Zoo staff travel to Grand Cayman Island to help the blue iguana 
Wild Jaguars Saved From Death - The Belize Zoo's Jaguar Rehabilitation Program finds a place for "killer" jaguars. 
A Partnership That's Changing Africa: The Zoological Society has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help bonobos 
Bonobos: Passage of Power - An emotionally disturbed bonobo learns to become a leader 
Conservation Legacy - Training new conservationists in Belize 
Hands-on Conservation: Judy Derse of Oconomowoc takes conservation personally on trips to Africa and Afghanistan 
Our Belize Connection: How the Zoological Society of Milwaukee has focused on conservation projects in Belize since 1986 
Saving Animals, Helping People - Lewa Conservancy in Kenya  
Sharing Space with Chimps: Studying how humans affect chimpanzee habitat in Africa 
Shedding Light on Penguins - Studies by Milwaukee County Zoo staff in Chile provide insights into helping Humboldt penguins survive. 
Protecting Piping Plovers - A zookeeper at the Milwaukee County Zoo flies to South Dakota to help with research on the piping plover. 
Butler's Garter Snake Field Research 
Peaceable Rattler - Wisconsin Timber Rattlesnake Field Research 


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