Focus on Conservation

Both locally and abroad, Zoo New England is committed to conservation. Whether supporting the Snow Leopard Trust, participating in the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program or head-starting local Blanding's turtles, we are dedicated to preserving wildlife. We invite you to learn more about our vast and far-reaching programs.


eco cellEco-Cell Electronics Recyling Program

Tossing that used cell phone? Skip the bin and stop by our booth!

Franklin Park Zoo has teamed up with Eco-Cell, a company which provides a “No Landfill” electronics recycling program while raising funds for nonprofits. The Zoo works with Eco-Cell to recycle old cell phones, help the environment and raise money for gorilla conservation. Be sure to drop your used phone off at our Admissions booth at your next visit!

Visit the Eco-Cell website or watch their video to learn more about how the program works.



Quarters for Conservation

markhorBe sure to look for the new Quarters for Conservation kiosks! Tokens will be handed out at the admission booths and visitors will have the opportunity to vote on the conservation project they would like to support. Conservation projects:

    • The Northern Koala Education & Conservation Project supports projects to protect koala habitat in Australia. It also works with zoos around the world to develop and maintain a sustainable koala population. Projects funded focus on habitat conservation, education and research. 
  • The Ape Conservation Initiative is a collective effort by zoos to help conserve wild populations of endangered apes. Projects range from species monitoring and protection to law enforcement, ecotourism, and veterinary and disease monitoring. All projects include the local communities. These projects help gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gibbons and their habitats.
  • The Wildlife Conservation Society Markhor Project in Pakistan works with local communities to sustainably manage markhor and other wildlife. Activities include helping the communities create resource committees and bylaws as well as paying rangers to monitor markhor and enforce laws. While markhor have increased in the area by 50 percent over the last 10 years, they are still endangered.
  • The Sahara Conservation Fund is working in Niger to protect the remaining North African ostrich which has disappeared across more than 95 percent of its range. Projects include a captive breeding program and community education. Plans are being made for a future reintroduction of ostrich.

Twenty-five cents of each admission and $2.50 of every membership support the Zoos’ conservation programs both locally and internationally. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo New England participates in Species Survival Plans (SSPs) at Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo as well as several conservation initiatives in the wild.


Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project

Since 2006, Zoo New England has been committed to amphibian conservation efforts in Panama. The institution is helping to lead a consortium of partners to expand the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. Dr. Eric Baitchman, ZNE Director of Veterinary Services, is the lead veterinarian for this vital conservation effort. Learn more.


Blanding's Turtle Project

Zoo New England has contributed funds and expertise to support the Blanding’s turtle research and monitoring project centered in the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Mass. Although this area contains one of New England’s largest populations of Blanding’s turtles, a threatened species, it is estimated that this population has dramatically decreased since the 1970s.

Since 2006, John Berkholtz, a Senior Zookeeper at Stone Zoo, has volunteered with this project, which focuses on population surveys and monitoring these reptiles’ movements. In the fall of 2007, ZNE took in 11 tiny turtles to “head start” throughout the winter at Stone Zoo. By the time these turtles were released back into the wild in June 2008, they had tripled in size which made them less prone to predation. Through the head start program, ZNE hopes to boost the numbers of the local Blanding’s turtle population.
In addition to head-starting the turtles, ZNE also contributed funds to purchase 13 radios and transmitters, a receiver and antenna to monitor the turtles once released. 

ZNE continues to participate in the head-start program.


Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Restoration Project

Zoo New England staff has made several trips to Concord, N.H. to participate in the Zoo & Aquarium Conservation Collaborative, comprised of a group of accredited zoos in the Northeast, which is working to expand the numbers of the Karner blue butterfly through the Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Restoration Project initiated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Hampshire Fish and Game. The project seeks to bolster the local population of this federally endangered butterfly by restoring its pine barren habitat as well as its main food source - wild lupine, in Concord, N.H. Karner blue butterfly numbers have plummeted in recent years with the decline of wild lupine due to human encroachment and habitat loss. ZNE, along with other participating institutions, has assisted with growing and planting wild lupine in this area in hopes of increasing the butterflies’ range and bolstering the species’ numbers.


Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Program

In a unique partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies, several zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other partners, Zoo New England is participating in a reintroduction program to release captive-reared Mexican wolves in remote parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Zoo New England began participating in the Mexican Wolf SSP in 1998. The SSP is a consortium of institutions working together to breed captive Mexican wolves for reintroduction and recovery in the Southwest. 




Northern Red-Bellied Cooter Head Start Program


Zoo New England recognizes that there are conservation issues in our own backyard. Massachusetts is home to the rare Northern red-bellied cooter (formerly known as the Plymouth red-bellied turtle). In the mid 1980s Massachusetts became alarmed when field censuses revealed that the Northern red-bellied cooter population was in dramatic decline.

Beginning in 1991, Zoo New England joined with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, other educational institutions, and a variety of wildlife centers in an effort to increase the survival rate of newly hatched turtles. Annually, ZNE has assisted in the effort to “head start” wild hatched Northern red-bellied cooters. Head starting these turtles allows them to grow under controlled captive care over the winter months when they normally would be in hibernation. During the 7-8 months of captive care, these yearling turtles reach a size that makes them less prone to predation. Since joining the conservation effort, ZNE has received 220 newly hatched turtles. A total of 205, or 94%, survived their first winter, allowing them to return to their natal area of hatching.




Snow Leopard Trust


ZNE, as a participant in the Snow Leopard SSP, is a current member of the Trust’s Natural Partnership Program (NPP), contributing funds to support programs identified by the Trust. Each of these programs identifies the conservation needs, any associated research needs and educational components.

Kori Bustard Feather Collection

 Not all conservations efforts require monetary support. The harvesting of kori bustard feathers for use by fishermen in fly making and Native Americans for ceremonial costumes and rituals is identified as one of several human activities causing an accelerated decline in the wild population. The kori bustard SSP has established appropriate partnerships with individuals and organizations to which AZA facilities, including Zoo New England, provide molted kori bustard feathers. The goal in providing these feathers free of charge is that over time it will undermine the economic incentive to those killing kori bustards for their feathers.



Siberian Crane Global Animal Survival Plan



 (Siberian crane chick photographed by Kristen Cibotti).

 Along with SSPs, Zoo New England also participates in the Global Animal Survival Plan (GASP) for Siberian crane. In accordance with a plan set forth by Siberian crane experts from North America, Russia, India, China and Iran in 1999, Zoo New England became one of the first institutions in North America to successfully hatch a Siberian crane egg. Zoo New England remains committed to the GASP recommendation to make every effort to breed Siberian cranes.


Red-Crowned Crane Egg Transfer Program

Another successful SSP conservation partnership is the red-crowned crane egg transfer program. Through the years, Zoo New England has provided fertile eggs for transfer to the Khinganski Nature Reserve in Far East Russia. This egg transfer program utilizes these eggs to supplement the wild population.

Eggs transferred are hatched in Russia, reared in a manner that maintains some level of fear to humans, and at the same time encourages them to establish nesting sites closer to local villages. A number of Zoo New England eggs have been hatched, reared, and released to the wild. There has been confirmation that at least one of these offspring has migrated between Russia and Japan.