Empowering Employees: Cincinnati Zoo Grants Support for Wild Conservation Initiatives

Posted February 6, 2024 by Angela Hatke

We’re excited to congratulate the Cincinnati Zoo’s 2023 Conservation Grant recipients! We’re so proud of the grant applications that request funds for such a variety of programs, species, and activities, all of which help move the needle in our efforts to save wildlife.  These submissions take time, planning, and collaboration with external program directors, and appreciate those who go the extra mile in support of a cause that means a lot to them personally.

Thanks to all who submitted proposals in support of such compelling conservation work conducted locally and globally.

Cody Sowers

In Situ Rescue and Rehabilitation of Wild Native Aquatic Birds

International Bird Rescue is a first-line responder in the crisis facing birds at the local, regional and international level.

Species Involved: 100+ different species of aquatic birds

Location: The Pacific Flyway

Focus: Safely improvements to the large aviary designed to help assess a bird’s ability to fly and ensure it is up to release standards

Improved shorebird enclosure to help address Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza


Bird Keeper Cody Sowers with a little blue penguin during a Penguin Encounter (Photo: Mark Dumont)

Tami Ware and Ashley O’Connell

Designing the next  phase of the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia

Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered. The Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary’s successful breeding efforts now require another space to keep the momentum of their breeding program going.

Species Involved: Sumatran rhino

Location: Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia

Focus: This grant would help fund the initial designing steps in the the multi-year construction project to create a new ring to hold their growing population.


Laura Carpenter

Community-Based Conservation for Bali Starling Breeding and Release Program

Since its inception in 1999, Begawan’s initiative has successfully combined bird conservation and education for the local community.

Species Involved: Bali Starling

Location: Indonesia

Focus: Conservation education, safety monitoring, release program, sustainable wild breeding, environmental health, and long-term education.

Kimberly Klosterman

Conservation of the Critically Endangered Yellow-headed Temple Turtle in Lao PDR Through Population Augmentation and Education

Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife (LCTW) is committed to in-situ conservation efforts. Funding for a herpetological educational exhibit at the LCTW’s new facility will help grow local nature education that is necessary to engage the next generation of conservationists.

Species Involved: Turtle, tortoise and wetland species

Location: Xieng Lae Tha Village, Pak Ngeum District, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR

Focus: Build an educational visitor-centric habitat for yellow-headed temple turtles

Install interpretive displays and interactive materials

Establish a small artificial wetland habitat that will serve as the filtration for a turtle habitat where wild native species of reptiles, amphibians and birds may find refuge

Dawn Strasser

Wild Cats of the Pampa Conservation Project

Species Involved: Geoffroy’s cat, Munõa’s Pampas Cat, jaguardoundi, ocelot, margay, jaguar, puma, and southern tiger cat

The main goal of the Wild Cats of the Pampa Project (WCPCP) is to carry out research and conservation efforts in favor of small wild cats in the Pampa region.

Location: Brazilian Pampa in the state of Rio Grande do Sul

Focus: Monitor areas of conflict between wild felids and rural landowners, implementing repairs in chicken coops to avoid predation and consequent retaliatory action, monitor new highways to identify new hotspots of road kills, install informative and educational signs, and to create, prepare and distribute informative materials about the Pampa’s wild cats species to promote the familiarization of the wild cats to the local communities.