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Zoo News Blog

Pen Pals to Save Okapis: Environmental Education

Written by Mary Fields

In the last pen pals blog, Jean Paul told us about some of the conservation work that the Okapi Wildlife Reserve does. In this blog, we will hear about the key to conservation, education!

Just like our wonderful staff and volunteers at the Houston Zoo, the OWR staff educates people in and around the reserve. They are able to reach out to the general public, schools, the government and army officials.

So how do they reach out to the general public? First of all, conservation groups do not just tell people to completely change their ways. They help out the local communities and inspire them to help save species and their habitat. The OWR holds public meetings with villages for various conservation issues. Focus groups are provided for the women in the area to help provide access to sustainable resources, such as water and fire wood. Sustainable practices are also encouraged for the farmers in the communities. Environmental issues are also broadcasted on radio stations in and around the reserve. Basically, the key is that the OWR is very involved in and care about their community!

How do they reach out to schools? The OWR realizes that getting kids started early in helping out the environment has major benefits! The OWR has provided environmental curriculum for primary schools. Conferences are also held at secondary schools and universities for students to discuss things such as the protection of the forest. And just like local schools going on field trips to the zoo, students around the OWR get to go to the Epulu station for field trips.

Now that you know how the OWR helps out okapis in the wild, you probably want to know how you can help. Simple, you can help by recycling your cell phones and electronics! You can recycle these at the Houston Zoo’s entrance and the African Forest. Make sure to follow our blog to continue learning about okapi conservation and hear more from Jean Paul!