Please help the LEO Zoological Conservation Center and its quest to save the Orangutans!
Who we areLionshare Educational Organization (LEO), a private 501 (c)3 operating foundation that funds the endeavors of the unique wildlife preserve, LEO Zoological Conservation Center, which is situated on 100 acres in the Greenwich/Stamford area of Connecticut. LEOZCC is a low impact, professionally operated refuge for rare, threatened and endangered animals with a focus on breeding species at risk. Fully accredited by the Zoological Association of America, the center takes pride in providing each of our 46 species with large, natural, enriching, and peaceful environments.They all receive plentiful and varied diets, top quality care, all with an emphasis on distinction.
Founders and staff are dedicated to protecting these treasured creatures and to educating and inspiring others to save the animals of today for the people of tomorrow. Education and non-invasive research are the cornerstones of the Center’s conservation efforts. We offer free of charge, hands-on internships to college students in order to augment academic studies and allow them to learn far more than any textbook can offer. The Center’s goal is to make a significant impact on wildlife populations via our innovative research and our dedicated and inspired students.
What does low impact mean?
Low impact means that we minimize the amount of contact and stress the animals encounter while maximizing their comfort and quality of life. Animals tend to not breed unless they are comfortable and happy. Limited exposure to excessive unnatural stimulus leads to a more natural life for our animals. We have a small number of “visitor days” allotted for the center, of which half are always dedicated to our Special Cause Groups.
Please refer to the NY Times Article: "To Save Some Species.." for more information on the growing need for low impact, offsite breeding facilities.
What is an orangutan?
Orangutans are Great Apes, and share that distinction with gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. All Great Ape species have large brains, forward-facing eyes and gripping hands. Humans are also classified as Great Apes, and we share 96.4% of our genetic makeup with these orange long haired primates!
A recent study states that orangutans are the most intelligent animal, after humans, based on their ability to learn and problem solve.
Wild Orangutans only live in Indonesia and Malaysia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Because orangutans live in only a few areas, which are all prime commercial logging locations, they are constantly losing their habitat and they fall victim to the susceptible to the effects to logging in these areas. Unfortunately, deforestation, hunting, the palm oil industry, and other human activities have placed the orangutan in danger of extinction. Many fear that by 2025, orangutans will be extinct in the wild!
How we currently provide care for our 6 orangutans:
Since this species is so complex, they require much more care than your average animal. Our staff is constantly hard at work conditioning these gentle apes to present and perform specific behaviors, such as opening their mouth or displaying certain body parts. This aids the staff in assessing and caring for their needs.
A team of zoo professionals, nutritionists, and veterinarians create and monitor their diet to make sure they receive the proper nutrition.
We are constantly monitoring to make sure everyone is eating, hydrating, digesting properly, and check for visual issues or injuries. We monitor the females menstrual cycles, always maintain the appropriate seasonal temperatures for our orangutans, and so much more. Veterinary care is brought in or consulted immediately if there is a potential issue or problem.
But these intelligent creatures not only need physical care, they also require mental stimulation. We keep their minds sound by providing different types of enrichment. They have access to toys, movie videos (Disney G- rated are their favorite and are played when the zookeepers/staff go home for the day), physical enrichment, puzzle feeders, and training, which they all willingly participate in and seem to enjoy.
But there is more that we can do for this endangered species....
We Need a New Monitoring Area
This new monitoring area will allow for us to provide the absolute best care possible, in the safest environment, for the animals. We are also currently working on a groundbreaking research project that can directly help and effect the conservation efforts in their native environment of Malaysia and Indonesia. We have already made new advances and discoveries.
Since this endangered species is so closely related to humans, they need the same health care that you and I require. That can be a challenge, so this new monitoring area will:
- Provide a scale which will allow them to be weighed on a more regular basis in a non-invasive way. Currently we can only weigh them intermittently as they need to be tranquilized.
- The monitoring area will have a section strictly used for conditioning training, which will help increase the effectiveness of the training therefore decreasing the possible stress of routine wellness checks and medical procedures.
- It will provide a “port”, which is a large, safe opening made into their enclosure, which will allow for a safe contact area, should we need to perform such things as vaccinations, ultrasounds, blood pressure monitoring, and blood work.
- It will be INDESTRUCTIBLE! Orangutans are 6 times stronger than humans and are extremely intelligent. So, the professional installation of the monitoring area, scale, and port will require A LOT of welding!
The Impact - Increasing their Longevity!
Once we have the new Monitoring Area installed, LEO ZCC's staff can improve the longevity, health and well being of our orangutans by:
- Obtaining accurate individual weights, which will allow for better and more personalized medical treatments for each individual orang.
- Identifying pregnancies
- Safer and more controlled introductions between the males and females
- Safer transport from one enclosure to another
Should we exceed our $14,500 goalIf we're lucky enough to garner more donations than anticipated for this project, our orangutans have a wish list a MILE long!
- Termite mound
- Paint, canvases and other art supplies
Other Ways YOU Can Make A Difference
If you believe in and support what we are accomplishing with these amazing animals, then please help us by spreading the word! Share this campaign on Facebook and/or Twitter and get your friends involved. Every dollar counts and by doing so you are supporting animals around the world!
Although we do not have animal care positions, you can visit our website for other volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved with LEO ZCC.
Donate your time, your skills and your talents! Donate unused tools! Donate through your workplace! Donate when you buy groceries!