CONSERVATION

The Hattiesburg Zoo strives to make the world a better place by educating others about how they can impact conservation efforts worldwide as well as how everyone can make a difference in their homes everyday.

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Conservation Efforts World Wide

The Hattiesburg Zoo strives to make the world a better place. Our Conservation Wristband program helps to support two great conservation efforts across the globe. You can purchase your conservation wristbands in the Gift Shop for $2 each.

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Giant Anteater Fund – The giant anteater is an iconic South American mammal that is threatened with extinction throughout its range. The scrub forests and grasslands that characterize the Cerrado biome are one of the species’ last strongholds. Unfortunately, more than half of Brazil’s Cerrado has been converted into pasture or agricultural lands for cash crops during the last 35 years. The giant anteater’s remaining habitats are highly fragmented and dissected by a large road network that worsens habitat fragmentation and is a significant mortality source for local animal populations. A recent pilot study, conducted by government wildlife officials in Mato Grosso do Sul, found that the giant anteater was the third most common species killed by vehicles—and a shocking 135 carcasses were found within a ca. 900 km area during a single year! The new research project aims to understand and quantify impacts of roads on giant anteater populations and to define landscape and road management strategies to help prevent vehicle collisions.

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Jaguar SSP Conservation Initiative – This program helps successfully manage Belize’s Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – still the world’s only reserve specifically established to conserve jaguar habitat. The Sanctuary has not had wardens at its southern Juan Branch gate for several years. However, when previously posted there, wardens, who were hired from the local community, were effective in reducing poaching and other illicit activity. The Belize Audubon Society manages Cockscomb; and they need everyone’s support to reestablish these important positions for the Sanctuary. Learn more here!

Conservation Efforts At Home

Ever wonder how you can help be a better conservationist at home? Follow these simple steps to help make a difference in your community.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
In order to best cut back on waste, we must do our best to not create it in the first place. Learn about curbside recycling in Hattiesburg here.

Benefits

  • Saves energy and money
  • Reduces the amount of waste that will be sent to landfills and incinerators
  • Helps prevent pollution by reducing the need for new materials
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improves your neighborhood by lessening litter
  • Allows for the product to be used to its full potential

How to Get Started

  • When shopping, buy reusable items. This can be anything from a reusable grocery bag to buying silverware instead of plastic utensils.
  • Buy used items. These items are usually cheaper and can be just as good as a new one. Building supplies, furniture, and many other items can be found easily.
  • Products that use a lot of packaging also use a lot of materials. Packaging such as styrofoam, takes a long time to break down and is harmful to the environment. Therefore, buy products that use less packaging, decomposable packaging, or recyclable packaging.
  • Take care of the products you purchase. Sewing clothes, repairing appliances, and other similar efforts will save you money and save the waste of buying another product.
  • Donate old items instead of throwing them away. This will help others in your community and some donations are even tax deductible!

PROTECTING BIRDS

Birds of all types are being threatened with various dangers. Some of these dangers are easy to lessen, while others take a little more effort. Follow the guidelines below to see how you can make a difference.

  • If you live or work in a tall building, turn the lights off at night or pull the blinds closed. This will help prevent birds from flying into your windows.
  • Remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Litter has been found to be eaten by birds, wrapped around them, and in many other ways that have lethal ends for the birds. Even throwing food out of the window while driving down the highway can have serious repercussions for the birds.
  • House pets kill billions of birds each year in the US. If you have a bird feeder, be sure to place it where no pets can reach it.
  • Habitat loss is lessening many bird populations. Bird houses give many species a place to nest while bird feeders and bird baths help provide the birds with easy access to food and clean water. In addition, nature preserves and parks are crucial for the future of these species. Volunteer to help clean these areas and let your state officials know the importance of these bird refuges.
  • Shade-grown coffee is important for many bird species. This allows more species to be supported than deforested areas that full sun coffee plantations use.
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COMPOST

Compost is a combination of herbivore excrement, fruit and vegetable rinds, plant clippings, and other plant waste. It is used, along with soil, to improve plant condition and fertility.

Why compost?

Composting is not only a great way to dispose of plant food waste; it is also a great way to help the environment and your local ecosystems. Compost helps improve the aeration and water drainage of soil. Adding it to clay soils, for example, can help plant life thrive in a soil that normally does not produce many plants.

How can I compost at home?

Composting is as easy as I, 2, 3!

  • Gather all food scraps made from plant material and all yard waste.
  • Put these materials in a pit, covered waste bin, or trench.
  • Add enough water to moisten all the materials (think as much as a damp sponge) and give your compost pile time to decompose.

Any Tips?

Although composting is a simple process, there are a few things you can do to ensure you have the best and most nutrient-filled compost. Make sure that all materials in your compost bin are strictly plant material. Chop as much of this material as possible. The more chopped the plant material is, the faster it will decompose. And finally, give your compost pile enough space to ensure it has enough heat for the decomposing process.

Save the Pollinators

What are pollinators?

Pollinators are essential to plants’ growth and overall health. Many plants are unable to pollinate with other plants on their own due to their lack of mobility. Pollinators are animals or insects that assist plants by unintentionally transferring pollen from one plant to another. This allows plants to reproduce and grow. Examples of pollinators include butterflies, bees, bats, hummingbirds, and even slugs.

Why are they important?

Pollinators are vital to all ecosystems. Without pollinators, 30% of the food we eat today would not exist! The earth would not be as beautiful. And many animals would die due to lack of plant food. Bees, in particular, are expert pollinators. Their bodies have evolved to hold as much pollen as possible. They spend their entire lives traveling between different flowers, causing cross pollination. Cross-pollination is a type of pollen distribution many plants need to survive. Thus, without bees, many plant species would die.

How can I help them from home?

Bee populations are rapidly declining due to habitat loss, pesticides, and global climate change. There are, however, a few things you can do at home to help.

  • Native Plant Garden

Plant a garden with native plant species is a simple and easy way to help save pollinators. These plants can provide a safe nesting area for native bees. Ensuring that only native plant species are in your garden is also important. Invasive plants can sometimes destroy entire plant ecosystems. These plants are known to sometimes kill native plants in order to get more food and energy from the sun. Residents of Mississippi can learn more about native plant species and how to care for them here.

  • Avoid Pesticides

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill insects and other pests in yards and gardens. This, however, also kills bees and other pollinators. There are a few different ways you can avoid killing pollinators via pesticides:

1. Avoid spraying the flowers themselves.

2. Use less toxic and faster degrading pesticides.

3. Pay attention to the formula of pesticide used.