CONSERVATION

International Conservation

CONSERVATION

John Ball Zoo - Conserving wildlife and wild places in more than 30 countries

Since 1985, thanks to the support from John Boyles and Dick Faber, John Ball Zoo has been supporting conservation efforts across the globe to help save animals from extinction. We have supported programs through annual grants and are now moving toward long-term strategic partnerships that align with our conservation strategy. These programs are funded by the generous support of our Animals! Animals! sponsors, donors, and guests that visit and support the Zoo each and every day.

Sponsor an animal today! Our Animals! Animals! Sponsorship Program supports conservation here in West Michigan and around the world.

Budgie
CONSERVATION

Projects We Support

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

AZA Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE)

Region: United States

Saving Animals From Extinction focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their massive audiences to save species. SAFE is a framework that protects threatened animals, builds on established recovery plans and history of commitment, prioritizes collaboration among AZA member institutions, and implements strategic conservation and stakeholder engagement activities. John Ball Zoo is a Founder’s Circle supporter of the AZA SAFE program. To learn more, visit aza.org/aza-safe

Tiger Conservation Campaign

Region: Russia

Accredited zoos across North America are mobilizing to raise awareness about wild tigers and funding for their survival. The Tiger Conservation Campaign is coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Tiger Species Survival Plan. The Tiger SSP’s Tiger Conservation Campaign supports projects that directly address threats to wild tigers. John Ball Zoo’s support focuses on Amur Tiger conservation projects. Amur tigers are the largest cats in the world.  Sadly, they are also one of the most endangered.  Amur tigers are native to the forests of the Russian Far East and northeast China.  Only around 500 wild Amur tigers remain, almost all in the Russian Far East.  The number one threat to their survival is poaching of tigers and their prey.  Habitat loss and infectious diseases also threaten the Amur tiger. 

In national parks and wildlife reserves in the Russian Far East, our Campaign supports the Wildlife Conservation Society’s efforts to curb poaching. At the heart of these efforts is a strategy that holds anti-poaching teams accountable for their work, provides incentives to those that do a good job and empowers wildlife managers with information to improve patrolling.  Through our support of the Tiger Conservation Campaign, we are helping rangers and project staff who dedicate their lives to protecting tigers.

In unprotected areas of the Russian Far East, the Campaign also supports efforts to work with logging companies to close unneeded forest roads, to prevent poachers from accessing important areas used by Amur tigers.  The number and extent of roads in Amur tiger habitat have exploded in recent decades. 

Lion Recovery Fund

Region: africa

The Lion Recovery Fund’s goal is to double the number of lions by 2050 through deeper and broader actions by the conservation and philanthropic community alike. The Lion Recovery Fund is managed by the Wild Conservation Network.

The fund targets protected landscapes—core protected areas and the communal areas within, around and connecting them—so that they are resourced and managed to help lions, their habitats and prey, and people thrive. 

The LRF supports creative, innovative campaigns that abate threats to wildlife and build the public, political, and philanthropic will to protect lions. Campaigns supported by the LRF are designed to build pride and support for lion conservation in Africa and to raise awareness in the West about the crisis facing lions.

Learn more at lionrecoveryfund.org

Red Panda Network

Region: asia

The global red panda population has declined by 50% over the last 20 years. There may be as few as 2,500 remaining in the wild. Founded by Brian Williams in 2007, Red Panda Network has become a world leader in efforts to protect red pandas and their habitat. They use an integrated, landscape-level approach to conservation that is built on the support and participation of local communities. 

Red Panda Network (RPN) is the world’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting red pandas. We work with local communities in Nepal to serve as active partners in the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat. 

John Ball Zoo sponsors RPN forest guardians every year. RPN works closely with local communities to develop conservation programs that help support their economic well-being and preserve the environment. The Forest Guardian program is the centerpiece of their efforts. Forest Guardians work with their communities to monitor and protect red panda habitats and educate their communities. 

Learn more at redpandanetwork.org

Snow Leopard Trust

Region: asia

The Snow Leopard Trust works in 5 key countries  to protect the endangered Snow Leopard through community-based conservation projects. These projects are based on an improved scientific understanding of snow leopard behavior, needs, habitats, and threats. 

Through partnerships with individuals and groups from around the world, the Snow Leopard Trust works to protect these wild cats by spreading awareness and raising the vital resources needed to protect these cats in the wild.

Learn more at snowleopard.org

Shopping Cart

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

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)

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 10.34.14 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 of 12 2 of 12 3 of 12

Freshwater Mussels

4 of 12

Habitat Hero

5 of 12

Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

6 of 12

Grand River Sucker Monitoring

7 of 12

Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

8 of 12

Michigan Butterfly Network

9 of 12

Bat Surveys

10 of 12

Massasauga Rattlesnake

11 of 12

City Nature Challenge

12 of 12
Get Involved!