The Kansas City Zoo Conservation Lecture Series features speakers showcasing conservation projects they are personally involved in benefiting wildlife, habitats and communities. These projects are all supported through the Zoo’s Conservation Fund, which is funded through admissions, memberships, the Round Up program in our retail shops and concessions, special events, and private donations. In 2017, the Conservation Fund totaled $340,000 that is being invested in conservation projects locally and around the globe.
All lectures begin at 1:00pm in the Lobby Auditorium and are free with Zoo admission or FOTZ membership.
Spring 2019 Lectures
January 22nd, 2019
Wyoming Toad Captive Breeding, Reintroduction & Field Survey Program
Thanks to captive breeding efforts, Wyoming toads are being reintroduced back into the wild. While these animals are on their way to recovery, they aren’t out of the woods yet: the wild populations are not yet self-sustaining, still relying on the regular release of captive-reared toads. For this reason, IUCN continues to list the toad as extinct in the wild. This is why the Kansas City Zoo will continue to hatch tadpoles and grow them to young adulthood for release in Wyoming as part of the Amphibian Ark. With many zoos participating in the Wyoming Toad SSP, it is our hope that their wild populations will increase to the point of eventually becoming self-sustaining.
February 21st, 2019
Marine Mammal & Pinniped Rescue Project
The Marine Mammal and Pinniped Rescue Project helps to support the conservation of wild populations of marine mammals, including California Sea lions, through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education. This project led by Shows Team Keeper Bridget Cronin is in partnership with the Marine Mammal Center. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California is one of the largest marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation hospitals in the world. In 2018, Bridget was able to stay at the center and assist with their patient care such as preparing and feeding diets, administering patient medications, cleaning holding areas, and assisting with veterinary exams and treatment.
March 19th, 2019
A Celebration of Sustainable Efforts at the Kansas City Zoo
A little known gem hidden within the confides of the Kansas City Zoo, the Shirling Sanctuary was named after for the late Albert Elwood Shirling, a noted naturalist, writer, lecturer and teacher. His fondness for underdeveloped areas in Swope Park led to 9.5 acres of property near the Blue River to be set up as a memorial to him that would be a sanctuary for birds and animals in 1953. In this forest were many giant trees including the largest Cork Elm in Missouri. The Burroughs Audubon Society, along with Kansas City Wildlands, continue to conduct ongoing restoration efforts within this bottomland forest to protect one of the only remaining true lowland forests in the area.
Over the past several years the Kansas City Zoo has continued to expand its sustainable initiatives. 2018 was full of both new and continued to accomplishments worth celebrating.
April 9th, 2019
Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Initiative
Craig Spencer, a leading conservationist and field ecologist, founded the Black Mambas, South Africa’s all female anti-poaching unit in the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2012. This all-female anti-poaching unit is based out of Balule Nature Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa. They conduct snare sweeps, road blocks and round the clock patrols, to help reduce poaching of rhinoceros as well as other species found within the reserve. The Black Mambas also conduct a community school-based conservation education program known as Bush Babies. The Black Mamba Initiative empowers women, in a male dominant culture, by providing employment and financial resources to help them support their families and also instills a sense of pride within them. The Kansas City Zoo is proud to partner with this unique and impactful conservation initiative by supporting the construction of three much needed “pickets” or base camps, where the Black Mambas can seek refuge in the field while still monitoring activity on the reserve and providing much needed supplies for the Bush Babies program.