The Lion Country Safari Conservation Committee [LCSCC] was implemented in 2015
It consists of contributing members from our Wildlife, Marketing, Education and Retail departments, and it is designed to assist any LCS employee in the design, production, and execution of any conservation-related project, fundraising event, or park-wide change. The mission of the Conservation Committee is to implement conservation actions and ideas that will preserve wildlife and their natural habitats. We strive to endow communities with the necessary tools to sustain and care for the natural environment through education and outreach.
As a result of these staff efforts, LCS is excited to announce their support of the following conservation projects:
The Florida Shorebird Alliance
The shorebird monitoring surveys are a volunteer joint effort by the Florida Shorebird Alliance and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission [FWC]. They include annual Winter Shorebird Surveys that are performed during the first week of February every year, state wide. They also include the International Plover Census which is performed every four years across several countries. In addition, the monitoring includes weekly or monthly surveys during the nesting season where nesting beaches or rooftops are checked once a week for nesting colonies so adults and chicks can be counted and fallen chicks returned to rooftops. This usually takes place in the summer.
Last summer, LCS staff members Melissa Ochoa monitored three rooftop sites and one beach site. All but one of these were least tern colonies; the fourth was a black skimmer colony. All of the data collected is put into FWC’s Florida Shorebird Database. LCS staff plans to continue contributing to these efforts in the coming months/years.
Black Atala Butterfly Colonies
LCS has planted Florida coontie trees (Zamia floridana) throughout our grounds in an effort to attract and assist the Black atala (Eumaeus atala) butterfly, a species that barely escaped extinction due to overharvesting of the Florida coontie. In addition, we acquired pupae from a butterfly conservation institution and introduced a colony on grounds! We did this in an effort to establish a “stepping stone” habitat in hopes of encouraging natural migration and colonization in the area. Currently, atala habitat is extremely fragmented. We hope that our atala-friendly habitat can encourage reproduction, migration and colonization of the species across Florida. We’re off to a good start, as our 2016 pupae project was a success!
The Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project
The Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project [TCP] is a conservation initiative based out of Sierra Leone, and was co-founded by LCS Primate Curator, Tina Cloutier Barbour in 2012. The project’s chief goal is the conservation of chimpanzees and their habitat through local community stewardship.
Chimpanzees in West Africa face unique conservation challenges, with more than 75% of the chimpanzee populations having disappeared over the last 30 years—largely due to a combination of severe habitat loss alongside the bush meat and pet trade industries. In Sierra Leone, this threat is even more apparent, as a greater portion of the national chimpanzee population lives outside of protected areas than inside. Therefore, the conservation of small groups of chimpanzees who find themselves living alongside human villages is of utmost concern.
In order to address these conservation difficulties, we developed the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project. We have been monitoring the local chimpanzee communities through two noninvasive methods since 2012: population censusing and camera trapping. Together, these endeavors provide data regarding the success of the local chimpanzee communities; we infer information about birth rates, population sustainability, individual health and ranging patterns, and social relationships.
The health of the chimpanzee groups reflects the communities’ adherence to the goals that they set for themselves. In addition, our local NGO partner—the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone—visits the villages monthly and maintains open communication with village leaders. LCS is a proud supporter of the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project.
Go Green Initiative
Lion Country Safari’s “Go Green Initiative” helps to reduce the amount of harmful waste that our facility produces. With eco-friendly materials from Eco-Products, our restaurant dishware are compostable, sustainable and renewable. The material from Eco-Products are plant-based meaning that they are made from renewable plant substance which defines our products as compostable. What does compostable mean? “Compostable means that a product is capable of disintegrating into natural elements in a compost environment, leaving no toxicity in the soil. This typically must occur in about 90 days.”
Compostable materials help to reduce negative environmental impact with a shorter product life cycle and no toxins left behind in our soils after decomposition. However, there are many plastic products still used today that are extremely harmful to the environment, animals and even ourselves. Did you know that most plastic material takes about 500-1,000 years to decay!? The world’s current plastic-use consumption rate will struggle to decompose in our landfills, oceans and land, threatening wildlife and creating massive pollution for generation after generation—LCS is proudly doing our part to mitigate such waste.
Giraffe Painting for Conservation
“Painting for Conservation” is a new initiative at Lion Country Safari and was implemented in January of 2016. This program seeks to raise money for giraffe conservation by utilizing the combined talents of our resident giraffe and trainers. Paintings are displayed at the Giraffe Encounter Exhibit.
Lion Country Safari is also recently began offering guests a Giraffe Painting Experience. This experience allows guests to really get involved in the painting process, as a giraffe creates a one of kind art piece for them! This art is composed of colors and objects specifically selected by the participants, who also learn about training and giraffe conservation. The best part is that the experience cumulates with the custom made painting as a souvenir!
Proceeds generated by these endeavors go to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, a Namibian non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for, providing support to and securing a future for giraffe, as well as conserving their habitat in Africa.
Partners of Preservation
POP Art [Partners of Preservation] is a recently developed, annual fundraiser based out of central Florida that helps raise money to assist in bird preservation efforts across the globe. In 2016, our staff enthusiastically donated numerous art pieces to the cause; all funds raised are donated to reputable facilities that combat habitat loss. Staff are excited to donate more high-quality art pieces to next year’s event! In addition, LCS has committed to the donation of materials for use in this very worthwhile endeavor in 2017!
Annual Staff Art Show
Since 2007, LCS has hosted an annual staff art show. This serves two purposes: 1) it showcases the work of our incredibly talented team members, and 2) annually raises funds for donation to a conservation initiative. It works like this: The public votes for their favorite piece of art through ticket purchases and/or monetary contributions ($.01 = 1 vote; 1 raffle ticket = 100 votes). One raffle winner for each piece is randomly selected and awarded the art that they bid on. The artist with the most votes at the end of the show chooses the conservation initiative to which all raised funds are awarded! Staff art shows are typically held in April as part of our Party for the Planet (Earth Day) activities, so be sure to swing by to view all of the fantastic work and vote for your favorite piece!