Zoo Scientists Save Species

Last week offered two excellent reminders of Lincoln Park Zoo’s impact on the world of wildlife. Fittingly for a city zoo with a global reach, one came from just down the street while the other originated halfway across the globe.

The first highlight was an excellent article in Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times sharing how zoos throughout the country rely on our zoo’s Population Management Center to plan sustainable populations for their animals. Headquartered at Lincoln Park Zoo in a partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the PMC plays matchmaker for thousands of animals across the country, analyzing family trees to find the best matches for breeding.

Animals of all stripes benefit from this expertise. Anyone who helped us celebrate the recent first birthdays of our juvenile Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth or white-cheeked gibbon has seen firsthand the effectiveness of PMC work to save species.

The other major news was the announcement that the Republic of Congo has added the Goualougo Triangle to their national park system. In doing so, they’ve protected a pristine home for endangered chimpanzees and gorillas, one that continues to offer new insights into great ape behavior, tool-use and the impact of logging.

This monumental decision was influenced by research supported by Lincoln Park Zoo. Our scientist David Morgan has spent more than 10 years studying the Goualougo Triangle. He and his team recorded unprecedented observations of chimpanzees using as many as five tools for a single task. Samples from their work also contributed to pioneering findings on the origins of malaria.

Dave sums up the impact of this conservation success story in a blog post from the Goualougo Triangle. I encourage you to read it.

It’s heartening to see zoo scientists in the spotlight for their hard work to save species. I’m proud of their work, just as I’m proud of everything the zoo does to help animals at home and around the world.

Kevin Bell

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