Zookeeper returns from African conservation trip

Submitted Photo Allison Suda, lead African hoofstock zookeeper at Roosevelt Park Zoo, in Minot, recently visited Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda, Africa.

Minot Roosevelt Park’s lead African hoofstock zookeeper, Allison Suda, recently traveled to Kidepo Valley National Park, a place known for protecting a number of animals found nowhere else in Uganda.

Suda represented the Minot zoo in giraffe conservation efforts and worked with animal caretakers there to exchange ideas on animal care, husbandry, nutrition and training.

The Minot zoo has worked closely with the Giraffe Conservation Alliance for several years. GCA sponsors education programs at the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, where Suda joined GCA to implement a week of programs geared toward 60 teachers and 150 students.

Uganda Wildlife Authority works to promote awareness programs in schools but funding is limited. The area has a high level of poverty, illiteracy and a lack of alternative livelihood options, which puts pressure on park resources. GCA helps fund education programs to reduce incidences of poaching and habitat degradation and promote the values of tourism and associated benefits.

Roosevelt Park Zoo has raised more than $7,000 for giraffe conservation in 2017. Over the last four years since the giraffe feeding station was opened, the zoo has raised nearly $60,000; about half has gone toward giraffe conservation and half is set aside to be reinvested in the Minot zoo’s giraffe habitat. Almost all of those funds are thanks to the local community who has raised the money one leaf of romaine at a time at the giraffe feedings station.