You can help save animals here in Texas and all over the world! Here are just a few ways to take action and protect wildlife. And remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo a portion of your ticket proceeds go towards saving animals in the wild! So, a simple zoo visit is a great action to take to protect wildlife!
Reduce your use of paper to save forest animals like bears.
The Houston Zoo only uses toilet paper made from recycled content, and you can help animals by doing the same!
Did you know that the average household uses 120 rolls of toilet paper each year? 27,000 trees are cut down every single day to provide toilet paper for the world. These trees are important habitat for animals like chimpanzees, wombats, and black bears.
Cell phone and other electronic device recyling
Recycle your cell phone to save chimps and gorillas!
Bring your unused cell phones to the Zoo.
There are more than 250 million cell phone users in the United States alone, and average lifespan of a cell phone is 18 months. That means there are A LOT of cell phones being produced to meet our demand. Each cell phone requires specific metals to be manufactured. One metal used in cell phones (tantalum) is found in Central Africa-a rainforest home to animals like chimpanzees, gorillas, okapis and mandrills. If we recycle cell phones and other electronics like cameras and laptops, the materials taken from wildlife habitats can be reused, allowing those habitats to be protected.
Video: The Vanishing of the Bees
Save butterflies and bees to save yourself!
Plant local plants in your garden.
When you pour maple syrup on your pancakes, chow down on some chocolate, devour ice cream, or use tasty spices for dinner, are you aware that all of these items exist because of pollen? Just as important as the pollen itself are the amazing members of the animal kingdom who move pollen from one plant to another, allowing the plants to make seeds that then help create some of your favorite products. In fact, we have pollinators to thank for up to 30% of what we eat!
There’s been a sharp decline in honeybee populations in the US and around the world. Watch the critically acclaimed documentary, “The Vanishing of the Bees” for more information. It’s exciting to go outside in the summer and gaze at the butterflies hovering around colorful flowers, hear the buzz of the bees, and catch a glimpse of a hummingbird flitting around some honeysuckle; but lately pollinators have had a tough time keeping their populations up because of habitat loss, climate change, and pesticides that harm the beneficial bugs that provide pest control. Bee-pollinated plants provide us with every third bite of food we eat… it is certainly in our best interest to take care of ALL of our bees, honeybees and native bees alike.
Reduce your use of plastic to save animals like sea turtles!
Say no to plastic bags and use reusable fabric bags.
Challenges of Plastic Pollution:
- There is roughly 315,000,000,000 pounds of plastic in our oceans right now.
- The average American will throw away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
- Plastic bags are petroleum-based and do not biodegrade.
- 100,000 marine animals die each year from eating plastic pollution in our oceans.
- Sea turtles and other marine creatures mistake plastics and other garbage as food (such as jellyfish) and ingest it. This causes blockages within their digestive system.
Palm Oil Awareness
Become more aware of what ingredients are in the products you buy to save animals like orangutans!
Choose your shampoo, soap and candy products wisely.
Challenges of Palm Oil:
The Palm Oil 411: Palm oil is a product that is used in everyday items like soap, shampoo, snacks, etc. Many palm oil plantations take over homes for animals like orangutans. Some companies work to protect wildlife while farming palm oil, others do not. The ones who set aside space and resources for wildlife we refer to as “sustainable”.
Choose fish that has been caught in a responsible way to save animals like sharks and rays!
Buy responsibly caught seafood.
Why are we asking you to ask about fish?!
You may have heard about sustainable seafood and know which choices to make, but if you haven’t, no worries – we will break it down for you!
Sustainable seafood is defined as seafood that is either wild-caught or farm-raised that not only sustains current populations, but thrives over the long term. The methods by which the seafood is harvested or raised must not cause undue harm to their natural ecosystems. The Houston Zoo strongly believes that embracing the use of sustainable seafood is one of the best ways we can all contribute to our oceans’ health.
How can you help, you ask? Here are a few ways:
Make smart choices about what you eat and where you buy it. This can make a huge impact on our oceans and the animals living there! Some of the top grocery stores in North America have public sustainable seafood sourcing policies – this list includes (but not limited to) Walmart, H-E-B, Fiesta, Kroger, Costco, Target, and Whole Foods. These stores provide sustainably-sourced seafood options for you to purchase and be confident you are making fish-friendly choices.
If you are out enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant, you can ask them if the seafood they serve is sustainable.
You can also refer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch consumer guide to learn which seafood options are best choices or good alternatives. Download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.