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Take Action - ZooTampa at Lowry Park

At Home

Everyone has a part in the conservation of wildlife and the natural world we share. Learn how you can take action to protect and preserve our amazing animals by making small changes at home.

Reduce Single Use Plastics

Single use plastics or disposable plastics are thrown away or recycled after one use. Some of these items include plastic bags, plastic water bottles, drinking straws, and most food packaging. When not recycled, many end up in landfills or find their way into the ocean. At ZooTampa, we are committed to reducing our use of single use plastic and do not offer plastic bags at retail shop or lids & straws at restaurants. We must all help protect and preserve the ecosystems that we all depend on. You can join us by cutting down your personal plastic footprint and make simple changes at home.

  • Take a reusable cup with you to the coffee shop when you get your morning coffee
  • Use re-usable cloth bags when visiting the grocery store and pharmacy
  • Say no to the straw and lid when buying a fountain soda

ZooTampa is proud to participate in Hillsborough County’s Reduce Your Use Campaign. Learn how you can take part too 

Reuse

Before throwing something away, can it have another life?

Reusing something before it becomes trash helps reduce the demand for resources that would be required to create its replacement.  Something easy to try, if you forget a reusable shopping bag, is repurposing a plastic bag into a small trash bag, or a dog waste bag. Reusing can also mean shopping secondhand or at thrift stores. Or, find a creative way to turn trash into art! Wrapping gifts with magazines or newspapers before recycling is another way we can lessen our impact on the natural world.

Recycle Old Electronics

Yes, that old phone languishing in your desk drawer or garage could save wildlife! Cell phones and other handheld electronic devices contain a material called coltan which is often destructively mined in Central Africa, home to many endangered species like okapis, chimpanzees, and gorillas. Recycling your old cell phones and other handheld electronic devices allows for coltan to be reused, decreasing the need for mining – an action that ultimately helps to protect habitats and save wildlife!

Learn more about Electronics Recycling Drives at ZooTampa 

Living With Florida Wildlife

Florida is full of natural wonders we all get to enjoy. And it’s important that we all do our part to ensure these amazing animals continue to thrive in their native habitats. Below are just a few ways we can take action to protect Florida wildlife.

Safe Boating

We share our waterways with Florida’s marine ecosystem, so it’s important to use safe boating practices to protect the wildlife around us. As a personal watercraft operator, you should understand how your vessel can affect wildlife and habitat in order to operate your vessel in a way that minimizes ecosystem impacts.

Using a personal watercraft can disturb and damage prime habitat areas for manatees and other wildlife. More than a quarter of all manatee deaths across Florida are attributed to watercraft caused by blunt-force boat strikes or propeller cuts. Speed is a critical factor; the faster the watercraft is traveling, the more force is applied on impact.

How You Can Help

  • Abide by the posted speed zone signs while in areas known to be used by manatees or when observations indicate manatees might be present.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare on the surface of the water, which will enable you to see manatees more easily.
  • Avoid boating over seagrass beds and shallow areas. Manatees are often found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, lagoons, and coastal areas.
  • Remain at least 50 feet away from a manatee when operating a powerboat.
  • Use marked channels when boating. Traveling in deeper channels reduces the likelihood of crushing or hitting manatees in shallow waters.
  • Never travel over a manatee, even in a paddle boat. Manatees must surface to breathe, and will become startled if you are in the way. Always give manatees space to move freely in their habitat.
  • Lower your anchor slowly when securing your vessel as there may be resting manatees below.
  • Please don’t discard monofilament line, hooks, or any other litter into the water. Manatees and other wildlife may ingest or become entangled in this debris and can become injured or even die.
  • When a manatee is present you may notice: a swirl on the surface caused by the manatee when diving; seeing the animal’s back, snout, tail, or flipper break the surface of the water; or hearing the animal when it surfaces to breathe.

Buy Sustainably

Found in the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are critically endangered due to deforestation by the palm oil industry. Palm oil can be found in a wide range of products such as food, cosmetics, household goods, & more. When it is grown unsustainably, new areas of forest are cut and burned, destroying the orangutan’s habitat. However, sustainable palm oil is grown by re-using the same land for production.

As consumers, we hold the power for change! Supporting sustainable palm oil will encourage more companies to make the change to sustainable production. Download the Sustainable Palm Oil app on your smart phone and scan items while you shop to make informed decisions.

Download Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Sustainable Palm Oil App 

Keep Wildlife Wild

Florida is full of amazing wildlife that you cannot find anywhere else. It’s important that we protect our animals by removing tempting food and objects from your backyards, campgrounds, and other outdoor locations. Be sure to secure the lid on your trashcans to keep wildlife from exploring and approaching neighborhoods for food. When camping, keep food stored away so animals don’t smell your food and want to explore more. And while it may be tempting, do not feed any wildlife no matter how close they are to you or friendly they may seem. 

If you’re around a large body of water such as a lake or pond, be mindful that an alligator may be in there too! Be aware of signs around water indicating there are alligators nearby, be careful walking around shorelines, and always keep your pets on a leash. By taking these small steps, we can keep our incredible Florida wildlife, and each other, safe.

Become Informed About Illegal Wildlife Trade

One of the most concerning threats to many species around the world is the illegal wildlife trade. The sale or exchange of wild plants or animals (live or dead) is unsustainable and responsible for bringing many species to the brink of extinction. We can all help by being informed and buying informed. When traveling or going abroad, do your research before you go. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service  has guides for travelers so that they don’t unknowingly buy items as souvenirs or gifts that are illegal or support this trade.

Elephants and Rhinos are two species that have been severely impacted by the illegal wildlife trade; elephants for their ivory tusks and rhinos for their horns. At ZooTampa, we work with our global conservation partners, such as The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, to help support anti-poaching patrols in range countries as well as groups working with law enforcement to end poaching and the consumer demand of materials made from tusks and horns.

Think Globally

At ZooTampa, we are committed to ensuring the species in our care are protected in the wild. Supporting wildlife conservation and projects around the world helps us achieve this strategic objective. Additionally, we encourage you to take daily actions from recycling your electronics to being an informed shopper that help preserve wildlife and wild places.

Recycle Old Electronics

Yes, that old phone languishing in your desk drawer or garage could save wildlife! Cell phones and other handheld electronic devices contain a material called coltan which is often destructively mined in Central Africa, home to many endangered species like okapis, chimpanzees, and gorillas. Recycling your old cell phones and other handheld electronic devices allows for coltan to be reused, decreasing the need for mining – an action that ultimately helps to protect habitats and save wildlife!

Learn more about Electronics Recycling Drives at ZooTampa 

Buy Sustainably

Found in the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are critically endangered due to deforestation by the palm oil industry. Palm oil can be found in a wide range of products such as food, cosmetics, household goods, & more. When it is grown unsustainably, new areas of forest are cut and burned, destroying the orangutan’s habitat. However, sustainable palm oil is grown by re-using the same land for production.

As consumers, we hold the power for change! Supporting sustainable palm oil will encourage more companies to make the change to sustainable production. Download the Sustainable Palm Oil app on your smart phone and scan items while you shop to make informed decisions.

Download Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Sustainable Palm Oil App 

Recognize & Choose Sustainable Seafood

Future generations depend on the plans and decisions we make today. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program helps consumers choose sustainably harvested seafood that is purchased from commercial fisheries that harvest fish in ways that protect the ocean and the environment. This ensures that there will be fish for future generations.

At ZooTampa we are committed to serving only sustainable seafood in our restaurants, as well as feeding only sustainably sourced seafood to our animals, like penguins. Visit www.seafoodwatch.org , and can print a pdf card of recommended seafood items that are “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives,” and find out which ones you should “Avoid”, or you can download the Seafood Watch mobile app for iOS and Android .

Become Informed About Illegal Wildlife Trade

One of the most concerning threats to many species around the world is the illegal wildlife trade. The sale or exchange of wild plants or animals (live or dead) is unsustainable and responsible for bringing many species to the brink of extinction. We can all help by being informed and buying informed. When traveling or going abroad, do your research before you go. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service  has guides for travelers so that they don’t unknowingly buy items as souvenirs or gifts that are illegal or support this trade.

Elephants and Rhinos are two species that have been severely impacted by the illegal wildlife trade; elephants for their ivory tusks and rhinos for their horns. At ZooTampa, we work with our global conservation partners, such as The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, to help support anti-poaching patrols in range countries as well as groups working with law enforcement to end poaching and the consumer demand of materials made from tusks and horns.

Support Us

Your donation to ZooTampa at Lowry Park provides crucial support for our animal care, education programs, and wildlife conservation efforts.