We're doing our part to support conservation around the world — and here at the Zoo!
The Brandywine Zoo is a proud supporter of initiatives that make our world more environmentally friendly. We enjoy providing our zoo members and website readers with information that will allow them to make positive choices or changes that will benefit our fragile earth.
Bees are important because they pollinate one-third of the insect pollination of the major agricultural crops in the U.S. including fruits, grasses (alfalfa), grains, nuts and vegetable crops. Bee pollination adds 15 billion dollars annually to improved crop yield and quality. But bee population has been declining and national efforts are underway to conserve it.
To help preserve these important pollinators and provide visitors with an inside glimpse of their fascinating life cycle, the Brandywine Zoo has installed two observation honey bee hives as a new exhibit. These are fully-functioning hives with viewing windows. The animal keeper staff maintains the hives. The staff also participates in monthly meetings at the Delaware Bee Keepers Association as well as yearly education classes on the care and maintenance of these hives.
Through a variety of signage, artifacts, and live presenters, the Zoo has heavily disseminated the message for bee conservation to our visitors and other Zoo non-profit partners. This exhibit has generated an exceptionally high level of visitor interest as well as staff enthusiasm. As a result, we have been asked to participate in the installation of bee hives at both the Delaware Horticulture Center and the Tri State Bird Rescue.
A recent study by the National Research Council has shown that the birds, bees, other insects, bats and other species that are important pollinators of North American plant life are declining in population. This trend could damage important crops since approximately three-quarters of all flowering plants are dependent upon pollinators for fertilization.
Zoos and other environmental groups are making efforts to sustain the pollinator population and now the Brandywine Zoo is taking the initiative too.
Tri-State Bird Rescue
The Zoo has had a long-standing cooperative relationship with Tri-State Bird Rescue. They have always been available to offer medical and nutrition care and advice for both native and non-native birds in our collection. In turn, we have been able to give a few of their rescues a home at our Zoo, help with placement of birds at other zoo facilities, purchase difficult to attain feed, and offer freezer space for their large loads of frozen fish. Many of our staff volunteer at their facility which has benefited our Zoo in expert bird handling and care.
Palm Oil Crisis
Many of the products we use on a daily basis, from toothpaste to drain cleaner contain palm oil. So what's the deal with palm oil? Many countries in Southeast Asia are replacing rainforest habitats with large-scale palm oil plantations. This has a great impact on the homes of animals such as the Asian Elephant and the Orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra. Items made with sustainable palm oil are better choices and can save the rainforests and the homes of the elephants, and still proved a source of income for millions of workers throughout the world. For more information on palm oil and making wiser choices for you and your family, check out the palm oil shopping guide!
Other Local/National Efforts
The Brandywine Zoo collaborates with other local organizations to enhance our mission and extend it to a broader audience. These include: The Delaware Center for Horticulture, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Delaware SPCA, Delaware Wildlife Rehabilitators, Delmarva Power, Public Allies, Delaware Humane Society, Delaware State Parks, AmeriCorps, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts, Libraries, Latin American Community Center, Delaware Association for Environmental Educators, Delaware Hospice, AIDS Delaware, Boys and Girls Club of DE, YMCA, Delaware Historical Society, Dover Downs, and Faith-based organizations.
On a national level, the Brandywine Zoo is very active in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) conservation initiatives including membership on the Conservation Education Committee, Regional Communication Plan champion, and the Mason/Dixon Regional Communication Plan liaison. The Zoo is also a member of the National Association for Interpretation. The Brandywine Zoo's Director is a former member of the AZA Board of Directors, Board of Director's Zoo Conservation Outreach Group and Board of Directors — AZA Professional Development Group, AZA Accreditation Commission, and Conservation Education Committee.
In addition the Delaware Zoological Society regularly supports the AZA Butterflly Conservation Initiative, the Golden Lion Tamarins of Brazil Fund, Zoo Conservation and Outreach Group and the Conservation Breeding and Specialist Group.