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Dr. Holly Reed Fund

Conservation is at the heart of everything we do at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Since 2002, The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund has provided more than $2 million in grants to benefit a diverse range of endangered species from exotic Sumatran tigers to hammerhead and other sharks, to red wolves and walruses.

Funding Conservation

Researching and protecting wildlife.

Generous donations from The Zoo Society, Zoo members, guests and donors help us support protection of wildlife and wild places at home and around the world through scientific research, education, breeding programs, anti-poaching efforts, and other programs.

Overview of Recent Grants

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has awarded conservation grants to projects ranging from satellite tracking of scalloped hammerhead sharks in Hawaii and community-based sea turtle monitoring in Mexico to testing new ways of attaching GPS trackers to polar bears and reducing human-tiger conflict in Sumatra.

The funded programs expand scientific knowledge of animals and the effects of climate change and habitat loss, aid Species Survival Plan® breeding programs and protect habitat that benefits individual animals as well as their species.

Tracking Hammerhead Sharks

Many shark species are declining around the world, but to protect them we need to understand them, and their habitat and behavior – especially females. With our support, researchers from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology outfit female scalloped hammerhead sharks – the same species we care for in the Pacific Seas Aquarium – with satellite tracking tags to inform fisheries management. Point Defiance Zoo staff aquarists have traveled to Hawaii to participate in the project, learning tagging techniques and providing skilled water safety support to the team.

Supporting Marine Education

eagle raySharks are often misunderstood – especially by fishing communities. In this collaborative project, Point Defiance Zoo staff members work with staff from marine non-profit MarAlliance to develop education strategies, curriculum and community engagement in Central America to foster stewardship for sharks and other marine animals.



Saving Sea Turtles

All seven of the world’s sea turtle species are threatened or endangered. They eat plastic trash, get entangled in nets, are caught as bycatch or suffer poaching and habitat destruction. With two green sea turtles now at home in the Pacific Seas Aquarium, we’re helping to protect their wild cousins. Funded projects include tracking female eastern Pacific green turtles in Colola, Michoacán México to determine and protect feeding sites and engaging local fishing communities in Northern Sinaloa, Mexico, in monitoring and conserving sea turtles.

Two tigers for Conserve

Sumatran Tiger Conservation

Only a few hundred Sumatran tigers remain in the wild on their native Indonesian island of Sumatra. We care for Sumatran tigers here in our zoo, but we also support the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA’s) Tiger Conservation Campaign. Wildlife Response Units on Sumatra work with villages to address human-tiger conflict, reduce poaching and prevent illegal habitat loss.

Clouded leopard on branch for World Tiger Day

Working for Clouded Leopards

They’re shy and elusive. They’re so difficult to spot in their rapidly disappearing rainforest habitat that noone knows for sure how many endangered clouded leopards remain in the wild. But we all agree the species is in trouble. Point Defiance Zoo works with partners across the nation and in Thailand on a breeding and research program that is crucial to ongoing understanding and conservation of these exotic cats. In addition, we’ve funded studies to fit satellite tracking collars on clouded leopards in Borneo and capture their movements via motion-sensing cameras in Thailand’s Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary. These studies provide crucial information about saving this species for the future.

Hanako the elephant spraying water for Care

Elephant Conservation in Sumatra

Development of Sumatran elephant habitat has led to increased contact between people and wild elephants. We support Conservation Response Units in Sumatra that address that conflict. Formerly neglected elephants are trained to carry forest rangers into elephant territory to fight crime, rescue wildlife, reduce elephant-human conflict by herding wild elephants away from settlements and provide education and outreach programs to villages in and around the parks.

Boris the polar bear

Tracking Wild Polar Bears

As climate change intensifies, polar bears are increasingly threatened. These massive mammals depend on sea ice platforms for catching the seals that are their main source of food. We support testing of new methods of attaching GPS tracking devices to wild polar bears. The new adhesive is first tested on zoo bears and then on wild bears, allowing critical research on how polar bears are impacted by loss of sea ice due to climate change.

Protect Wildlife

Follow in her footsteps.

Dr. Holly Reed was a beloved staff member and veterinarian at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium from 1995 until her death in 2012 from breast cancer. She volunteered her veterinary skills around the world, including through Polar Bears International and Asian elephant conservation in Sumatra.

Help us keep Dr. Reed’s memory alive by supporting The Zoo Society’s conservation fund that bears her name.