CONSERVATION

SAVING WILDLIFE & WILD PLACES

CONSERVATION

John Ball Zoo's Wildlife Conservation Fund

Conservation education is at the core of the Zoo’s mission and we strive to provide opportunities for our guests and partners to grow their knowledge, appreciation, and support of wildlife conservation.

For thirty years the John Ball Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Fund has helped fund conservation projects both regionally and across the globe. These projects have helped conserve wildlife and wild places in more than 30 countries. Many projects funded by the Wildlife Conservation Fund have been education-based with an eye to helping communities learn about the wildlife around them. In addition, the fund has lent support to help conserve some of the lesser known taxa such as endangered reptiles and amphibians. 

Butterfly green

Area: Michigan

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Area: Russia

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Area: Africa

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Area: Asia

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Area: Asia

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CONSERVATION

Great Lakes Conservation And Species Survival Plan

John Ball Zoo is dedicated to green operations, prioritizing resource conservation. Through waste management, vegetated walls, green roofs, energy and water conservation, we strive to create a safe environment for animals and guests. As an accredited member of AZA, we participate in SSP, contributing to species management, conservation, and veterinary care. Look for the SSP symbol on animal signage during your visit to see if your favorite animal is part of this vital program.

What We Do

Sustainability At John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo is committed to conserving resources and in doing so we strive to make all of our operations as green as possible. Learn more about our on-site conservation efforts such as green operations, vegetated walls, green roofs, water conservation and more! 

CONSERVATION

What You Can Do

There are plenty of ways for you to get involved in our conservation efforts! Join us as we engage with our community to help provide these valuable plants to community members and become a Habitat Hero. John Ball Zoo will be out in the community throughout the 2022 season providing free trees, shrubs, and pollinator plants. 

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Tiger Conservation Campaign

International Conservation
About

The John Ball Zoo supports Tiger Conservation Campaign’s work to raise awareness and funding for the survival of wild tigers, with a focus on Amur tiger conservation. With only around 500 wild Amur tigers remaining, efforts primarily target combating poaching, habitat loss, and disease in their native forests including supporting anti-poaching teams and working with logging companies to close unnecessary forest roads.

Partners

Lion Recovery Fund

International Conservation
About

The John Ball Zoo works with AZA’s Lion SAFE and the Lion Recovery Fund to conserve African Lions. The Lion Recovery Fund aims to double the number of lions by 2050 by supporting conservation efforts in protected landscapes and communal areas. Through innovative campaigns, it seeks to mitigate threats to wildlife, foster public and political support for lion conservation in Africa, and raise awareness globally about the challenges facing lions.

Partners

Snow Leopard Trust

International Conservation
Snow Leopard
About

The John Ball Zoo is partnering with Snow Leopard Trust to study the long-term ecology of Snow Leopards in Mongolia. The long-term ecological study utilizes camera traps and GPS collars to study the ecology of Snow Leopards and the prey in the Tost Nature Reserve. We help to support the purchase and maintenance of field vehicles and the salaries of field staff. Data collected will be used to better understand the conservation of this elusive cat and mitigate the economic impact of Snow Leopard depredation on livestock.

Partners

Red Panda Network

International Conservation
Red Panda
About

The John Ball Zoo supports Red Panda Network’s efforts to reduce the impact of deforestation on Red Pandas in Nepal by supporting the Plant a Red Panda Home project. This project strategically reforests corridors between core Red Panda habitats. The Zoo also provides fuel efficient cooking stoves that greatly reduce the need to cut trees for firewood while protecting human health by iproving indoor air quality.

Partners

Great Lakes Rare Turtles

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Turtles are in trouble around the world and locally. The Great Lakes Rare Turtle Program addresses on threats that are existential and widespread for Blanding’s, Spotted, Wood, and Box Turtles. The John Ball Zoo is working wth partners to study head starting as a conservation tool, protecting nesting habitat for Wood Turtles from raccoons, and researching the distribution and status of Spotted Turtles in Southwest Michigan. The zoo partners with local community scientists to indentify road crossings that pose a threat to Blanding’s and other species of turtles.

Partners

Freshwater Mussels

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Freshwater Mussels are one of the most fastenating groups of animals. Unfortunately they are also one of the most imperiled groups on animals with more than 70% of North American species listed as Threatened or Endangered. Our own Grand River is home to an impressive 32 different species, 19 of which are listed. The John Ball Zoo is working with scientists at Grand Valley State University to evaluate Grand River Mussel populations. During the 2023 field season, the team documented over 1,000 individuals from 27 different species. This includes the Endangered Snuffbox Mussel.

Partners

Grand River Sucker Monitoring

Community Science
About

Suckers are a very important, and often overlooked, group of migratory fish that inhabit the Grand River. Every spring they migrate upriver from Lake Michigan to spawn in tributaries of the Grand River. We are joining a project started by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to determine how changes in temperature and flow of the streams impact the spawning behavior of the suckers.

Partners

Bat Surveys

Community Science
About

West Michigan is home to several species of rare and threatened species of bats. This summer we will have a group of volunteers collecting bat occurrence data by driving predetermined routes and using special recorders and software to identify bat species. The data will be submitted to the North American Bat Monitoring Project as part of their ongoing analysis of bat abundance and occupancy across North America.

Partners

Mitchell's Satyr

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The prairie fens of southern Michigan are a stronghold for the Endangered Mitchell’s Satyr butterfly. We are working with Michigan State University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center to develp to propagate this rare butterfly. Offspring reared in the program may be used to supplement wild Mitchell’s Satyr populations.

Partners

Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

Community Science
About

American Kestrels are one of North America’s most abundant raptors, but their populations have been steadily declining since the mid 1960’s. This year we have begun participating in the American Kestrel Partnership, run by the Peregrine Fund, to monitor local kestrel nest boxes and help better understand Kestrel population trends and biology.

Partners

Michigan Butterfly Network

Community Science
About

As part of our pollinator conservation work, we want to understand how native butterfly populations are changing over time. By training community members to use the Michigan Butterfly Network monitoring protocol, we are offering passionate people the opportunity to help contribute to our understanding of butterfly populations in west Michigan.

Partners

Poweshiek Skipperling

Oarisma powesheik

Facts
Habitat

Grassland, Wetlands (inland)

Threat Range

Critically Endangered

Region

Extant (resident) - Canada (Manitoba); United States (Wisconsin, Michigan), Possibly Extinct - United States (South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa), Extinct - United States (Indiana, Illinois)

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Habitat Hero

Community Science
About

The Habitat Hero program is focused on creating better urban pollinator habitat by giving away native plants to west Michigan community members. By giving away native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, we are inviting community members to provide crucial nectar sources for pollinators as well as become more involved in pollinator conservation in their own yards and gardens.

Partners

Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

Community Science
About

One of the major threats to turtle populations is mortality associated with roads and vehicles. We have a team of trained volunteers who survey predetermined road crossing sites and report the number of turtles they find at these locations. We plan to use the data to assist in conservation decision-making regarding roads and turtles in west Michigan.

Partners

Massasauga Rattlesnake

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The Massasauga is Michigan’s only venomous snake and plays an important role in the ecosystem. Unfortunately, these snakes are declining in numbers and are listed as Threatened. The John Ball Zoo helps to educate the public on the plight of the Massasauga and helps conservation biologists study them in the field. Currently, we are assisting Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Grand Valley State University, and Sarett Nature Center develop new technologies to monitor this secretive snake species.

Partners

City Nature Challenge

Community Science
About

The City Nature Challenge is one of the world’s largest annual community science events. Started by iNaturalist in 2016 as a friendly competition between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, this bioblitz has grown into a global phenomenon with over 500 cities participating. Taking place over the last weekend in April each year, the City Nature Challenge is all about getting outside and documenting the biodiversity in and around our communities while building and strengthening relationships with other people who are passionate about conserving local species. The West Michigan City Nature Challenge is Michigan’s only City Nature Challenge event, and encompasses Allegan, Barry, Kent and Ottawa Counties. We are excited to partner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many other local organizations to engage our communities in four days of exploring our biodiverse outdoor spaces.

Partners

Michigan Area

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Freshwater Mussels

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Habitat Hero

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Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

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Grand River Sucker Monitoring

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Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

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Michigan Butterfly Network

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Bat Surveys

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Massasauga Rattlesnake

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City Nature Challenge

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Get Involved!