KIDS CAN! Education Program in Senegal

The Houston Zoo works hard to take care of the animals you see when you enter our gates as well as our animal’s counterparts in the wild. The Conservation Department at the Houston Zoo facilitates this by communicating with conservation partners in the field, both in Texas and around the globe. We discuss their needs with them and see how the Zoo can help. Sometimes a project needs education assistance, and that’s definitely something we can help with!

The Houston Zoo teamed up with Falémé Chimpanzee Conservation (FCC) and Conservation Fusion (CF) to assist in the development of  a community-based education program in 4 villages in southeastern Senegal. Southeastern Senegal is a very interesting place-it is the home to the endangered West African chimpanzees, who live in the savanna, cool off in pools of water, and take shade in caves!

West African chimps spending some time in caves in Senegal! Camera trap photo courtesy of Faleme Chimpanzee Conservation.

Many times, conservation projects begin with research on a species. The Falémé Chimpanzee Conservation program works to study the West African chimpanzees in southeastern Senegal using camera traps. Although research is important in conservation efforts, it alone will not save a species. FCC began expanding on their chimpanzee research efforts by working collaboratively with local communities and assessing the needs of the villages and the people that reside next to the savanna chimpanzees. These discussions led to the implementation of an education program in several villages near Kédougou in the bottom right hand corner of the map below.

Map of Senegal, courtesy of

Education is important in community-based conservation efforts. It can change attitudes towards wildlife and habitats, provide jobs, instill a sense of pride among a community, empower local people with new knowledge, skills, and confidence and secure opportunities for students to continue their education.

A young boy participating in the KIDS CAN program learns how to observe wildlife, just like researchers do! Photo courtesy of FCC.

The “KIDS CAN-Ka wulo mara” program means “Kids Can-Protect the Forest” in their native language, Malinke. Kids are vital in securing a future for the Senegal savanna habitat where they live, and the animals they share their home with (which includes lions, chimpanzees, leopards, and hyenas). By having fun while learning about wildlife, kids become inspired to conserve what’s around them.

Learning about the importance of chimpanzees in seed dispersal. Photo courtesy of Faleme Chimpanzee Conservation.

We are excited about continuing to assist in the KIDS CAN education program in Senegal, so check back with us for more updates throughout the summer!

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Sets up a surprise sloth encounter as a birthday present for Simone Biles. You might think his shirt is made out of cotton. Turns out, it's boyfriend material. ... See MoreSee Less


Sets up a surprise sloth encounter as a birthday present for Simone Biles. You might think his shirt is made out of cotton. Turns out, its boyfriend material.


Comment on Facebook

Can anyone do this?


Where is the sloth's exhibit located within the zoo?

I'm not sure who is the cutest- the sloth, Simone, her boyfriend or SMG!!!

Christopher Vavrecka 😍 this is what I want for my birthday

And that is Curly- the best sloth in the world!

Erica Gunter when we going to see the giraffes?? 😍

JasonSara Pipkin, I do have a membership next time you want to go to Houston. 😉

Chris Roach, since Chelsea loves sloths.

Jason! I want an encounter with Succotash for my upcoming bday!!

I signed my wife up back in December. She gets her sloth encounter in May and is very excited!!

Julia Tompkins you and Simone have met the same sloth

I like the way the sloth looks right at the camera and poses for the picture.

what a cute picture... that sloth sure did pose for it too 😂😂

Glynis Henry we could have seen her there if we went today. i'm sad now, i love her!

Maria Diaz you could do this for Jenn!

Why is the red panda sold out forever in advance 😩 or is it just not really an encounter

Coming to the zoo this Saturday. Can not wait!

Cameron Caylor Robyn Davis Deddens apparently we can pay to meet a sloth. If you two care about my happiness WHAT SO EVER, you’ll make this happen.

Melissa Nitsche - we held a sloth & baby in Cartegena while on vacation when we lived in Panama City, Panana

Ashley Janitz Montalvo I knew there was a sloth at the Houston zoo!

We met Curly shortly after he came to Houston Zoo! So glad he's still alive and well!

Amanda Leigh Ramirez Even better! Let's chat when you get back from all your time out of the office.

Janet Roper Gratkowski, Laci is in good company with her sloth-love! 😂😂

Sloth says, “Wow, I’m usually too slow to photo bomb. Cool!”

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Houston Zoo was live.
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Spring break is over and it's back to the grind, so here's something relaxing. Enjoy watching our giraffes eat lettuce during our 11 a.m. giraffe feeding! ... See MoreSee Less



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Adam Thornton we should go do this!!

What a way to relax during lunch! The giraffes are so graceful!!

Just went two months ago planing to go again !

One of my favorite things to do when we go to the zoo!

Please tell me it won't be as crowded as Sunday if we come during the week

One of my favorite parts of the zoo.

How fun ... I love going to the zoo

My favorite....Giraffes!!😁😁



They so beautiful


Aww ❤️ ❤️

Dustin Badgerow

Karina Rocha


😍 excelente experiencia !! 😍💜

Dustin Badgerow

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