COLORADO SPRINGS — Cheyenne Mountain Zoo isn't just a local treasure. The zoo was ranked the no. 4 Best Zoo in North America. One reason is its contributions to conservation. News5 reporter Caroline Peters spent the day at the zoo learning about the different conservation efforts the zoo has to offer.
“Many of our animals at the Zoo participate in voluntary husbandry training, including the hippos here. We invite her to do various behaviors that allow us to visually check her for things like dental care. She gets rewards for participating and that training allows us to build these trusting relationships with our animals," Al Carrier, a keeper in Water’s Edge: Africa at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, said.
The zoo has four hippos, including its 2-month-old calf, Omo. Omo is the first hippo born here in 32 years.
“Our conservation program, called Quarters for Conservation, raises 75 cents from each admission for Frontline Conservation," Carrier said. "Since we started that program in 2008, we’ve been able to send about three-and-a-half million dollars to our partners protecting animals in the wild. African elephants and rhinos, vultures, giraffes, Panama frogs, and orangutans are some of our legacy conservation efforts. Those funds also support our in-house conservation efforts to help restore native species, like Wyoming toads and black-footed ferrets, by breeding them here and releasing them into the wild. The zoo also offers memberships for its conservation programs.
“Our members send an additional $100,000 per year to support smaller-scale conservation projects that make a big impact, including supporting African penguin chicks, which two of our staff members did in 2019. We also support the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds by helping to fund rangers who live on islands with important African penguin populations and monitor them so SANCCOB can respond to their needs quickly and track ongoing issues impacting their ability to survive in the wild,” Rachel Wright, public relations and social media manager at the zoo, said.
While the zoo allows guests to get up and personal with the animals, it also offers events for the whole family. “Tomorrow night, Thursday, Sept. 30, is our last 21-and-up event of the summer. Tails & Tunes is from 6 to 9:30 p.m. tomorrow night. Come out and enjoy live music, have a drink or two, and catch the sunset from the side of the mountain. Advance tickets are required,” Wright said.
Anyone interested in attending Tails and Tunes can purchase their tickets here. Boo at the Zoo is the zoo’s Halloween celebration. The event will take place for seven nights in October, starting Saturday, Oct. 16, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. For tickets, visit here.