Taking the turtle for a ride behind the scenes at the zoo. 

The Zlin Zoo in the Czech Republic, participates in a program to protect the Griffon vulture.  One male Griffon vulture from Zlin was released into the wild in Bulgaria last year, and this year a one year old female Griffon vulture was transported from the Lesna zoo in Zlin to Bulgaria and was also released to the wild.  The Griffon vulture has disappeared from some regions of Europe completely and it is now entered in the European Studbook program.  The Zlin Zoo has had a breeding program for the vultures since 1999, but the first young hatched out in 2009.  The zoo participates in the Bulgarian project together with Spanish colleagues.  Twenty-four vultures have now been released in Bulgaria, where the original population was nearly decimated.  The first Zlin youngster released into the wild in Bulgaria is doing well.  It is one of a few released birds to be fitted with a transmitter, so that it can be monitored closely.  This Griffon vulture is one of few vultures returning to the place where it was released and scientists know his condition.

Zoos and aquariums are one of the biggest supporters of field conservation for habitats and animals. There are many admirable conservation organizations around the world, but zoos have a unique advantage: they welcome 175 million people through their gates each year. These families or individuals, on a nice, affordable day out, can be exposed to conservation messages at a variety of levels. In fact, zoos were ranked among the top most trusted messengers of wildlife conservation.

In writing this article and asking questions at my local zoo, I have received a new insight about zoos in general and all they offer to the public, besides just being a Noah’s Ark/storehouse at first glance.  Zoos and aquariums are active on so very many levels we never stop to think about.  Why not plan a visit to your closest zoo for this weekend?  Take the children.  If you don’t have any of your own, grandkids would be good, or even the neighbor’s kids.  Don’t forget - what young-uns are exposed to lasts them a lifetime.  And also - don’t forget to drop an extra bill in the zoo kitty if you have an extra in your pocket.   

Copyright © 2011, Susie Christian