Zoo Boise Conservation Fund earmarks $100,000 to restore Table Rock vegetation

Posted at 11:58 AM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 13:58:38-04

Zoo Boise and the Friends of Zoo Boise announced Thursday they will contribute $100,000 from the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund to replant native vegetation in the recently-burned Table Rock area.

The funds will be used by the City of Boise and the Ridge to Rivers partnership to purchase and plant native seeds and seedlings that can be transplanted on-site next spring. Zoo Boise, which is part of the Boise Parks and Recreation Department, will organize volunteers to help in the spring.

“While the burning of the Table Rock area was difficult for the community to witness, it does provide us with an opportunity to re-establish native plants that are critical for wildlife,” said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. “Restoring the Table Rock area will be a multi-year process and involve many partners. We are thrilled that funds from the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund will be used to help us restore one of our community’s most important places.”

In recent years, Zoo Boise’s conservation fee, charged as part of the Zoo’s admission and costs for certain zoo activities, has become a national model for providing funding to conservation efforts. City officials said it also has played a key role in a national conversation about changing the zoo from a place simply to learn about animals, to a tool for ensuring their future.

To date, Zoo Boise’s conservation fee has contributed about $2 million to global conservation efforts, including its internationally-acclaimed and successful work to help restore habitat and wildlife in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park after a civil war there. The funds are designated to help protect wildlife in Idaho and around the world.

“Table Rock is not only one of the most iconic parts of our community, it is also home for native wildlife including mule deer, bobcats, red fox, rabbits, ground squirrels, coyotes, and badgers,” said Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns. “Native raptors and songbirds use Table Rock and the surrounding foothills -- so we are pleased to let our visitors and the entire community know that their visit to Zoo Boise is more than a fun afternoon. Their trip to the zoo translates directly into wildlife conservation.”

The Friends of Zoo Boise, which helps manage the conservation fund, approved funding the Table Rock re-vegetation effort at a special meeting Wednesday.

The Friends of Zoo Boise also are in the midst of their ‘Zoo With A New View’ capital campaign to improve aging Zoo Boise exhibits and build a new Gorongosa National Park exhibit.

“The money we are able to contribute to the restoration of the Table Rock landscape is the result of our mission to help generate funds for the conservation of animals in the wild,” said Alisha Palmer, President of the Friends of Zoo Boise. “With new exhibits, we will raise even more money for conservation efforts around the world and right here in Boise’s own back yard.”