9,999 Euros to Ape Campaign from Paignton Zoo
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has given 9,999 Euros to the Ape Campaign 2011. The campaign, run by EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, aims to raise one million Euros for global ape conservation.
Zoo director Simon Tonge said: “EAZA set what they called the 3333 challenge because if all 300 EAZA member zoos raised just 3,333 Euros, then the campaign target of 1 million would be achieved. We chose to aim for 9,999 Euros because we have apes – gorillas, orang utans and gibbons – and because two members of our staff are on the organising committee.”
Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “Keepers, research students, office staff, scientists and volunteers have all helped to raise the money. It has been a real team effort. Visitors, Zoo members, local schools and businesses have all supported us.”
Zoo staff and volunteers held one-off events and did fundraising on site. Ape Days, when members of the public paid to go on special days to meet keepers, conservationists and animals, raised £2,200.
Conservationist Dr Vicky Melfi ran the London Marathon, research student Lewis Rowden spent 24 hours living on a gorilla diet on the Zoo’s Gorilla Island and six year old Imogen Keeley spent a week dressed as an ape to raise money.
Branches that had been chewed by a gorilla and turned into walking sticks were sold on eBay, while a unique Dartington Crystal glass cast of a young gorilla’s hand-print made £302. Four paintings made by another gorilla sold for over £900.
Dr Melfi, who works with primates, said: “The ape campaign is working to save our closest relatives – bonobos, chimps, gibbons, gorillas and orang utans. As apes ourselves it’s important that we recognise the plight of our relatives and fight to stop them dying out. They’re family.”