Wildlife Conservation Fund

Fresno Chaffee Zoo supports critical research projects that protect and preserve wildlife and wild places around the world. Since 2006, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Wildlife Conservation Fund has worked with dozens of individuals and organizations to further research, expand conservation impact, share knowledge, and engage local communities.


The 2020 application cycle is now open

Kibale Fuel Wood Project and Eco-Char Initiative

This project, based at the Kibale Forest in western Uganda, focuses on planting rapidly growing trees (15 feet of growth in one year) to be harvested for wood fuel to protect the surrounding forest and it’s many endangered species from the effects of deforestation. They also teach locals how to build energy efficient wood burning stoves as well as conduct outreach programs in the local village schools to engage children in protecting the forest and all of the species that live there. In 2014, 18,000 locals attended the projects and four science centers and six workshops were conducted. A total of 230,000 eco-briquettes were manufactured and 40,000 pounds of waste were traded for briquettes. Sixty-two percent of people in the target areas use fuel efficient stoves and 72 percent grow their own fire wood at home.

Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative

This project is led by Patricia Medici, the Jane Goodall of the tapir world. The Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative was established in 1996 in the Atlantic Forest on the coast of Brazil to build a scientific basis for tapir conservation through research and strategies designed to protect their remaining habitat. Outreach programs and awareness initiatives are used to spread the word on conservation using tapirs as a flagship species. They provide hands-on field experience to the general public through scientific tourism. In 2014, they GPS collared 37 individuals and collected hundreds of genetic samples for further studies.

Sahara Conservation Fund

This organization has several projects that they are working on and our funds were distributed to be used on any of these. Their conservation efforts focus on antelope reintroductions, oryx, ostrich, carnivores, and Pan-Sahara wildlife surveys in Niger, Tunisia, Senegal, Algeria and Chad.

Friends of the Island Fox

This organization supports island fox conservation across all of California’s Channel Islands. On four of those islands, island fox subspecies remain a U.S. federally-listed endangered species. In 2014, our funding helped replace aging live traps used in capture and release research as well as the testing of blood samples for evidence of canine diseases.

Tarangire Elephant Project

The Tarangire Elephant Project began, which began in1993, is led by Dr. Charles Foley and is located in the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania where they have identified over 1,000 individual elephants, creating the largest elephant database. Their work is focused on identifying and protecting wildlife migration corridors and dispersal areas outside the wildlife parks where the animals live.

Grevy’s Zebra Trust

This project is based in Kenya which is home to 37 percent of the Grevy’s zebra population. They employ locals to collect data on the population, inspire positive behavior towards the species and engage local school children. The Grevy’s zebra scout program has had a positive effect on the communities that employ scouts. Livestock and zebra can be found grazing next to each other and sharing resources. The attitudes of locals is has also become more accepting of zebra sharing the land.

Aframamum Project as Livelihood for Ex-hunters

Located in Mount Cameroon National Park, this program focuses on redirecting hunters toward alternative agricultural sources of livelihood such as livestock production and sustainable plant harvesting. They also work with women to harvest and sell edible plant material instead of preparing and selling bush meat.

Hornbill Nest Adoption Program

Located in Thailand, this project uses the help of local villagers to collect data on the species and educate locals about the importance of their conservation. There are seven species that they study, four of which are endangered. This program invites anyone to adopt a hornbill family for $150 and receive details of the adopted hornbills, location of the nest, plus photographs of the tree in which the nest is located. Travel to Thailand, and they will take you to see the nest!

The Ape Taxon Advisory Group

The APE TAG was awarded a grant to be used for all of the projects they have recommended for support in 2014. Our funds were distributed between eight projects involving orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and gibbons.

Tiger SSP Malayan Tiger Initiative

This project works on anti-poaching efforts and tiger themed education and outreach for the local communities. Our funds went toward the anti- poaching efforts. The various patrols work to catch poachers and dismantle snares, seize weapons and put up road blocks for check points to stop illegal trade.

Action for Cheetahs in Kenya

Our funds are being used to develop and test effectiveness of a scat detection dog program to locate and confirm cheetah presence and individual cheetahs. Funds also go toward the development of methodology for cleaning scat and identifying prey species, and develop methodology for DNA analysis.

Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project

They are recording density and demography, habitat use and behavior as well as genetic and health status of the population. They are also doing education and outreach to schools, land owners, rural workers, and eco-tour guides in Brazil.

Turtle Survival Alliance

Their mission statement is: Transforming passion for turtles into effective conservation action through a global network of living collections and recovery programs. They have projects in 17 regions across the globe.

Reticulated Giraffe Project

In the last 10 years, reticulated giraffe have declined 80 percent, from 30,000 to approximately 5,000. This project is working on the conservation and management of the remaining giraffe in northeast Kenya in the Samburu National Reserve. They are also working on environmental education and population studies.

International Rhino Foundation

In response to the global crisis in rhino conservation, the International Rhino Foundation protects particularly threatened rhino populations in the wild, while also supporting applied research that can help to improve the chances for long-term survival of all rhino species. We have already made great strides in preventing further declines of these magnificent animals and turning rhino population trends around in the areas in which we work. IRF funds and operates field programs in Asia and Africa targeted to the rhino species most in need of and most appropriate for intensive protection and management.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a Seafood Watch® partner. Through the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, consumers receive recommendations on ocean-friendly seafood showing which seafood items are “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives,” and which ones you should “Avoid”. 

The Seafood Watch program uses a variety of data to develop consumer guides, which are updated two times per year. Information about fish populations,   the type of gear used and the impact on the environment as well as  other species are all considered. Both wild caught and farmed species are assessed.

Consumer guides are available at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in the Sea Lion Cove and Stingray Bay areas. A free mobile app is also available. To find out more information about the Seafood Watch program, or to download the  mobile app, please visit www.seafoodwatch.org.