Be a smart consumer & buy sustainable palm oil products
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.
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!
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
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 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.
You Can Help
Save Our Manatees
Be a Responsible Boater
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.
Report Sick, Injured, Tagged or Tangled Manatees to FWC
If you see a manatee in the wild you think may be sick, injured, or in distress, or a manatee with a GPS tag, please contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It is vital that you obtain immediate help for the animal. The sooner the animal is located and its condition is assessed, the better its chances for survival.
Toll-free number: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922)
On your cell phone dial: *FWC or #FWC
Send an email to: Tip@MyFWC.com
Please be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What is the exact location of the animal?
- Is the manatee alive or dead?
- Is the manatee tagged?
- The color(s) of the bands present on the floating tag and the antenna
- Any letters or numbers on the tag
- How long have you been observing the manatee?
- What is the approximate size of the manatee?
- What is the location of the public boat ramp closest to the manatee?
- Can you provide a contact number where you can be reached for further information?
- The above information is the most important you can provide; however, any additional information will be helpful.
What to do if you hit a manatee while boating
If you strike a manatee with your boat contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission right away. Please be responsible for your actions while on the waterways and take immediate action if something does occur. You will not be cited if you accidentally collide with a manatee while obeying posted speed zone
Protect the Panther License Plate
When you buy a Protect the Panther license plate you're directly supporting the Florida Panther Research and Management Trust Fund. Fees from license plate sales are the primary funding source for the FWC’s research and management of Florida panthers.
Save the Manatee License Plate
When you buy a Save the Manatee license plate you're directly supporting the Save the Manatee Trust Fund. This fund is vital for research, rescue, and conservation activities related to Florida's manatees.
Your donation to ZooTampa at Lowry Park provides crucial support for our animal care, education programs, and wildlife conservation efforts. As a non-profit organization, we depend on contributions from donors like you to help enrich the lives of animals, and inspire generations of youth to protect our natural heritage. Your commitment shows that you are part of a community that cares about saving species and conserving wildlife.
With more than 1,000 animal residents at ZooTampa you probably have a favorite. Now, you can adopt them through our Share the Care adoption program and make your visits to the Zoo even more special. Your symbolic adoption helps to support expert animal care at the Zoo and global conservation efforts.