Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund
It’s the passion that drives us to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats, from the jungles of Sumatra to the wetlands of Western Washington.
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.
Since 2002, The Zoo Society's Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund has provided more than $1.8 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.
Species around the world are dwindling in numbers at alarming rates as habitat vanishes due to climate change and human encroachment; as poachers kill them for pelts, fins, ivory and other items; and as they die from diseases that might be preventable.
In 2017, the Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund awarded 32 grants totaling $312,330 for projects ranging from GPS units to help track the movements of polar bears in Canada’s Western Hudson Bay, sharks off Baja California’s Revillagigedo Islands and clouded leopards in Borneo; to funding anti-poaching efforts in support of endangered Sumatran tigers and other animals in Southeast Asia; to better understanding health issues among red wolves in the United States.
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.
Sumatran tiger conservation
Poachers are hunted and brought to justice. Tigers caught in snares are rescued and released. Wildlife Response Units work with villages to address human-tiger conflict and prevent illegal habitat loss. Only a few hundred Sumatran tigers remain in the wild on their native Indonesian island of Sumatra. Grants from the Dr. Holly Reed Fund help the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Tiger Conservation Campaign support this critical work to save a vanishing species.
Last year, field units responded to 27 tiger-human conflicts and worked with communities to build 36 tiger-proof livestock pens. They also handled 12 cases of 31 suspects involved in illegal hunting and smuggling.
Working on behalf of clouded leopards
They are shy. They are elusive. They are so difficult to spot in their rapidly disappearing natural habitat that no one knows for sure how many endangered clouded leopards remain in the wild. But it is universally acknowledged that the species is in trouble. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium works with partners across the nation to collaborate with zoological officials in Thailand on a breeding and research program that is crucial to continued research and understanding of these exotic cats.
In addition to that work, conducted by the Clouded Leopard Consortium, grants awarded this year will support studies of camera-trap data so scientists can learn more about the animals; the purchase of GPS collars to track clouded leopards translocated in Malaysia; and an analysis of clouded leopards, their prey, and their threats in Bangladesh. All of this work help guide future efforts to save this endangered species.
Elephant conservation in Sumatra
Rapid conversion of Sumatran elephant habitat for development has led to increased contact between people and wild elephants. A Dr. Holly Reed Fund grant supports work being done by Conservation Response Units in the Way Kambas National Par of Lampung Province, Southern Sumatra, to address these conflicts. 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.
Tracking polar bears in Canada
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. Throughout much of their range, polar bears live on sea ice year-round. But in Western Hudson Bay, the sea ice melts entirely during the summer. The bears are forced ashore for extended periods and deprived of their natural prey for up to five months. As ice melts earlier in the summer and freezes later in the fall, the bears spend more time on the mainland, hunting for food and coming into contact with human settlements.
Researchers will employ up to 40 GPS ear tags on adult male and young male and female polar bears. The data collected will help scientists work to reduce human-bear conflicts and make informed decisions on future conservation action.
The researchers long have worked with Polar Bears International (PBI). Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is an Arctic Ambassador Center and works closely with PBI to tell the story of polar bears and the mounting challenges they face in the wild.
Check out the PBI Bear Tracker to see the movements of a number of female polar bears whose movements are regularly tracked.
Photo Credit: PBI
Protecting walrus habitat in Alaska
The Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary in Bristol Bay, Alaska, protects one of the largest terrestrial Pacific walrus haulout sites in North America. Round Island, best known of seven sanctuary islands, gives walruses a large area of rocky beaches on which to rest every summer. Up to 14,000 walruses have been counted there in a single day.
Stellar sea lions, other marine mammals and several species of seabirds also use the peaceful habitat, the only wildlife sanctuary of its kind in North America. One grant from the Dr. Holly Reed Fund provides operational and research support for the sanctuary, with which the Zoo has a longstanding relationship. A second award helps finance an important study of walrus prey. That work may yield clues to why walruses move around and how changing habitats affect them.
See walrus highlights from the 2015 Round Island walrus cam!
Saving the red wolf through veterinary science
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is known worldwide as the zoo that brought the red wolf back from the brink of extinction. But the species, native to the Southeastern United States, remains critically endangered. A grant from the Dr. Holly Reed Fund is enabling studies to determine possible connections between diet and digestive disease among the wolves. The research, being conducted by Zoo Associate Veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson, is just one of many ways that donations help us advance animal care at the Zoo through research on health, behavior and reproduction.