conservation banner with gorilla picture


The Oklahoma City Zoo partners with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) on various projects throughout the year through a large grant of $20,000. Zoo staff members assist ODWC biologists and staff members in surveys and other projects, including the following:

Winter Bird Survey

Winter bird count in the Cimmaron Hills and Cimmaron Bluffs Wildlife Management Areas

prairie chicken picture


Lesser Prairie Chicken Saturation Survey

This survey takes place in the Cimmaron Hills and Cimmaron Bluffs Wildlife Management areas and is being used to help lessen the impact of wind farms on this species. Funds from the Zoo may be matched by government grants and the surveys will be conducted from March 25 through the end of April. 

Photo: Christopher Taylor

Other projects being considered for zoo funds and staff

  • Bat survey - McCurtain County Wilderness area
  • Swift fox track survey
  • Monarch tagging with Monarch Watch
  • Development and dissemination of Public Service Announcements highlighting wildlife species
  • Possible black footed ferret release program in the future
  • Vernal pool creation for amphibian conservation

The PanEco Foundation, Sumatra

picture of Sumatran forest

PanEco is an international nonprofit foundation started in 1996 with headquarters in Switzerland. PanEco works directly with YEL (Indonesian Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) – a nonprofit organization located in Medan, which provides technical support, skills and conduct educational activities directly related to the environment and promote community awareness, conservation programs for endangered species and community development.  They also provide emergency relief action and humanitarian assistance. They work directly with the Indonesian Government’s Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (The Forest of Ministry Dept). Many species in the surrounding areas benefit from the efforts of the PanEco Foundation.


Conservation efforts of the PanEco Foundation include:

Tripa Swamp Forest (Peat forest) in Northern Sumatra – RSPO
The Biodiversity Agricultural Commodities Program partnered with PanEco to develop palm oil plantations on degraded land and mineral soil as an alternative to the expansion of plantations in the peat swamp forests of Tripa.
Batang Toru conservation program
This program supports the most southern population of orangutans while also investigating the populations of Asiatic tapirs, Sumatran rhinos and tigers. A research station with a camera trap was set up in 2006. 

Sea Turtle conservation program
This program works in studying the turtles, their eggs and their habits as well as supporting conservation of the species. 

Orangutan Rehabilitation and Quarantine Center
This program is working with Sumatran and international vet hospitals developing field vet training.  They have rehabilitated more than 180 orangutans, with more than 120 re-released into Bukit Tigapuluh - an area that had been wiped out of orangutans and other wildlife.

Helpful Web Site Links: (English)

Funds from the Oklahoma City Zoo support:

Elephant Conservation Work
  • $5,000 towards elephant habitat protection
  • $5,000 towards "captive" CRU work

"CRU" stands for Conservation Response Unit. These elephant jungle patrols help to reduce the human/elephant conflict by responding to crop raids, patrolling habitats and setting up elephant corridors. They are also a great source of eco-tourism!

picture of people on elephants



$10,000 towards Twa Sibolangit Nature Reserve and Botanic Gardens

This nature preserve and conservation information center is located just outside of Medan, and works to bring environmental education to the urban setting. The preserve also conducts surveys to establish biodiversity. The Zoo's support will help with building renovations, messaging and educational materials as well as supporting biological and geological surveys. 

picture of amphibians and reptiles

Northern Rangelands Trust, Kenya

picture of habitat in Kenya

Objectives of the Northern Rangelands Trust include:

  • Ensure the conservation, management and sustainable use of the natural resources within the Trust Area
  • Promote and develop tourism and all other environmentally sustainable income-generating projects within the Trust Area
  • Promote culture, education and sports of the residents of the Trust Area
  • Promote better health of the residents of the Trust Area through the provision of better health services and facilities
  • Alleviate poverty of the inhabitants of the Trust Area through improved social services, provision of employment and establishment of community-based enterprises
  • Promote and support trusts, corporations, NGOs and other charitable organizations with similar objects to those of the Trust.

map of Kenya

Lekurriki Conservation Trust

One of the many conservancies of the Northern Rangelands Trust, the Oklahoma City Zoo has been working with the Lekirruki Conservation Trust. 

Due to its diverse landscape, Lekurruki Conservation Trust is home to many different species of wildlife and plants. Large herds of buffalo and elephant are common within the conservation area with one herd of elephant estimated at 450 individuals. The Mukogodo Forest is home to many unique species of plants, birds and butterflies.


In 2000, with assistance from the privately owned Borana Ranch, an eco-lodge was constructed within the core conservation area of Lekurruki. Since its opening to guests in June 2001, Tassia Lodge has been a premier tourist destination in northern Kenya and offers clients a unique opportunity to enjoy a diverse array of fauna and flora. The lodge employs 90% of its staff from the Lekurruki Group Ranch and also provides income for conservancy operating costs (40%) and community projects (60%). 

NRT Trading

NRT Trading has recently started working with women’s groups in Lekurruki. Initial engagement has included a needs assessment, business-training workshops and visits by the NRT Trading project team. NRT Trading is working with seven women’s groups from the conservancy and plans to expand engagement in the future. The improvement of cultural artifact-making initiatives, product quality and groups formation are areas that are currently being discussed.

Community Programs

Recent repairs on various roads within the conservation have greatly enhanced accessibility to community settlement areas and Borana Ranch. Also, the construction of a building at some of the surrounding schools have made it possible for students to learn under a roof unlike previously where the learning was under a tree. Finally, the procurement of camping gear (which includes tents, sleeping bags, and ruck sacks) for the Scout team by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has made security operations more effective.

Oklahoma City Zoo Funds Support

The Oklahoma City Zoo has provided a total of $34,000 in grants for the construction of the Lekurruki manager's house and office, security head office and radio room. The buildings have been constructed to comply with regulations requiring little environmental impact.

Elephants in Africa face critical threats, including intense poaching, disease, predation, and dramatic loss of habitat. In the past 25 years, the in situpopulation of African elephants has fallen from 1.6 million to less than 500,000 - a decline of more than 100 elephants each day.

The construction of the manager's house and security office will give the Lekurruki Trust a major advantage when it comes to fighting illegal poaching and keeping the animals safe. Currently without the equipment and supplies to combat poaching effectively, Trust staff will now be able to be much more efficient, safe and diligent in their attempts to stop poaching. Support for this will help managing their resources more efficiently they don't have ther equipment of a station enable them to be much more efficient, safe and diligent in the attempt to destruct poaching of the elephants for their tusks and horns and bushmeat trade. Keep the conservancy as an animal refuge. 

picture of African Elephants

Conservation Projects

Jatun Sacha Foundation, Ecuador

The Jatun Sacha Foundation is an Ecuadorian non-governmental and non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of ecosystems of Ecuador. For over 25 years the foundation has been promoting and preserving Ecuador’s biodiversity and improving the quality of life of local communities through technical training, scientific research, environmental education at national and international level, community development, and sustainable resource management. Conservation initiatives and action take place within the foundation’s five ecological reserves in an array of habitats including tropical forest, montane forest, cloud forest, rainforest, mangroves and dry forest. Volunteer opportunities abound within the reserves giving volunteers field experience in various areas such as reforestation, environmental education, service and community development, wildlife conservation, agroforestry, organic agriculture, sustainable aquaculture and scientific research.

For More Information on the 5 Ecological Reserves, click below:


Oklahoma City Zoo Funds Support:

The Oklahoma City Zoo is funding the development of the Management Center of Amazonian Fauna at Jatun Sacha Biological Station, located in the Amazon province of Napo, Ecuador with a focus on wildlife rescue and endangered species breeding. The Center will be a safe home for the animals and serve as a research center to study the natural behavior of these species.

Specific Objectives:

  • Enable an animal rescue center that serves as a refuge for illegally bred/trafficked animals and their subsequent reintegration into the wild.
  • Create a space suitable for breeding of those species that have become endangered due to hunting, thus contributing to the reproduction and re-population of these species including Capybara, Central American Agouti, Central American Tapir, and Collared Peccary.
  • Establish a program to assist sick and injured endangered animals, while raising awareness and providing education on this issue.
  • Develop research projects regarding the biology of these species with a focus on maintaining biological viability.

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