Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Members Donate $20,000 to Australia Bushfire Recovery

February 4, 2020

Simply by visiting the Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo members and guests contribute to important global conservation work.

“Watching the devastating bushfires in Australia from our living rooms in Colorado can leave you feeling helpless and wondering what you can do to make a difference,” said Bob Chastain, CMZoo president and CEO. “It’s important to note that from every membership and every ticket to the Zoo, we set aside funds to support frontline conservation fieldwork around the world, and specifically now, in Australia. We want people to know that coming to the Zoo is conservation in action.”

Since starting in November 2019, the bushfires in Australia have devastated more than 27 million acres, claiming more than 30 human lives and more than a billion animal lives.

This week, CMZoo members voted to send $20,000 to Zoos Victoria’s Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund, in Australia. The funds support long-term care for bushfire-impacted animals, including supplementary feeding and habitat restoration, in conjunction with the Australia Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, and associated recovery teams. Donations from Zoo employees, board members, docents and an internal Zoo match program raised $6,900 in support of Zoos Victoria, making the collective donation $26,900.

“We have been closely watching the devastation in Australia and working to find the best ways to support the recovery,” said Dr. Liza Dadone, CMZoo vice president of mission and programs. “Last week, we asked our members if we could send a portion of their annual Member Conservation Grant funds to Zoos Victoria. Our members’ collective supportive response was immediate.”

Each year, CMZoo members vote for conservation projects to receive a share of $75,000 allocated from membership revenue. The $20,000 donation comes from that membership revenue. In March, members will vote to guide CMZoo’s decisions about which other projects to support, as they do every year. Since 2015, including this contribution, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Member Conservation Grants have provided $395,000 of membership revenue to support field conservation worldwide.

“Because our members regularly visit Australia Walkabout at the Zoo, they have formed meaningful connections with the animals they’ve seen in these heartbreaking news stories out of Australia,” said Emma Repp-Maxwell, CMZoo membership and annual gifts manager. “As a leader in conservation, we’re committed to helping people make those connections, and taking it a step further by providing opportunities for our members to contribute to the amazing work being done to save and protect the animals left.”

About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s mountain Zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. In 2019, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted #6 Best Zoo in North America and CMZoo’s Rocky Mountain Wild was named #5 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America by USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s goal to help guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Of the 233 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just a few operating without tax support. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo depends on admissions, membership dues, special event attendance and donations for funding.