We are so excited to support the Denver Zoo in the months of May and June for RMCC Gives! We spoke with the team at the Zoo and learned more about this wonderful organization and what we can all do to help.
Tell us briefly about the Denver Zoo and its role in the Denver community.
Denver Zoo was founded in 1896 with the gift of a black bear cub to the mayor of Denver. While early for-profit zoos often displayed animals for entertainment, contemporary non-profit conservation-based organizations like Denver Zoo could not be more different. Today, Denver Zoo is proud to be a recognized leader in animal care, conservation and education, and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums—signifying excellence in animal care. Our charge is to inspire the public imagination. We know that our world is seeing dramatic human pressure on wildlife and wild places. How can we, as humans, be the species that helps?
Denver Zoo is home to nearly 3,000 animals representing 500 species, many of which are threatened or endangered in the wild. Denver Zoo is a leading science institution contributing to the education of tens of thousands of children and adults annually, and is committed to serving those most vulnerable in our community. Sustainability initiatives—like our Zero Waste by 2025 goal—are prominent across our operations. With over 600 field conservation programs to date, Denver Zoo works to protect wild animals and wild places.
What drew you to be a part of the Zoo?
Denver Zoo’s dedication to its mission—Inspiring Communities to Save Wildlife for Future Generations—each and every day. The survival we ensure may be our own.
What specifically will our donations go toward?
ANIMAL CARE: Your support is critical to the 24/7 care our animal residents receive—including training programs, medical care, enrichment activities, dietary expertise and more for our 3,000 animals.
One aspect of ensuring proper nutrition is encouraging activities like carcass feeding for our carnivores, as well as our browse program, which provides year-round fresh vegetation for herbivores like our Asian elephants.
Our enrichment program is intended to support our animals’ mental and physical well-being. Enrichment includes things like providing varied feeding schedules, increasing feeding time with puzzle feeders or hidden food, providing habitats that stimulate exercise and many other activities—all with a goal of encouraging and stimulating natural behaviors.
EDUCATION: At Denver Zoo, we believe wonder is a common language—and we’re passionate about sharing the wonders of nature with the communities we serve. Without assistance, many Colorado residents could not otherwise afford to participate in the wonderful educational experiences Denver Zoo has to offer. Our Access to Awe Scholarships help to remove financial barriers, opening a world of life-affirming learning to students of all ages throughout the Denver metro area.
CONSERVATION: DZ has been a leader in conservation for over 21 years. We understand that each one of our animal residents is an important ambassador for its wild counterparts—so we’re passionate about the the preservation of wild animals and wild places around the world. Financial assistance allocated to our extensive and varied conservation efforts ensures that we can continue our work here in Colorado and around the world.
We’d love to hear a specific story that stands out to you that shows how the Zoo has really helped the animals in a profound way.
At Denver Zoo, conservation is a part of everything we do! We work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to support animals through voluntary programs like the Species Survival Plan, a breeding program that facilitates the survival of many species by keeping zoo populations healthy and abundant. The story of Tensing and Joona, our greater one-horned rhino mom and baby, is a great example of Denver Zoo’s work in the context of the Species Survival Plan to support endangered and vulnerable species.
When Tensing first arrived at the Zoo in 2011, she was not trained to participate in an artificial insemination procedure, which eventually led to her pregnancy. Our Animal Care team provided extensive training with a focus on positive reinforcement to teach her how to participate in her own care, including voluntary ultrasounds and, eventually, artificial insemination procedures.
Success did not come quickly or easily. Our Animal Science team, with assistance from a variety of AZA partner,conducted 11 unsuccessful artificial insemination procedures with Tensing from 2014–2018. Then in 2018, the team attempted a 12th artificial insemination procedure with sperm from Jontu, a greater one-horned rhino from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. A voluntary ultrasound 10 days later suggested that Tensing was pregnant, and the good newswas confirmed 23 days later. Baby Joona was born in February of last year—happy, healthy and full of sass.
What is the best way for people to help into the future?
As a non-profit organization, Denver Zoo relies on your support through memberships, visits, donations and volunteer efforts. Click each link to find out more on how to get involved in a manner that is most meaningful to YOU!
What do you see for the future of your organization in the next year or so?
During our 87 days of closure last year due to COVID-19, Denver Zoo was so grateful for the amount of love and support we received from our community. Now, as we celebrate our 125th Anniversary, we’re stepping into a brighter future—including a new sloth tree in Tropical Discovery, a spacious new habitat for our African penguins and a new lagoon for our fabulous flamingo flock! Thanks to the support of people like you, Denver Zoo will continue to serve our beloved community for generations to come.
We hope you will join us in donating to the Denver Zoo!
ABOUT RMCC GIVES: We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary by giving back through our #RMCCGives initiative! We will spend 2021 supporting six nonprofits nominated by our brokers. Stay tuned as we highlight each organization every two months and spend the time supporting their worthy causes. Want to find out how you can get involved? Contact us!
Read more about RMCC Gives on RISMedia’s Featured News HERE