2014 Grant Projects

Since 2007, the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund as granted $115,000 to Gorongosa National Park for multiple restoration projects.

Starting in 2013, Zoo Boise and Gorongosa National Park formed a long-term partnership. Zoo Boise will begin a capital campaign to build a recreation of Gorongosa at the zoo. As part of that, over the next 10 years Zoo Boise will grant $2 million to the restoration project.

This year, the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund raised $200,000 to grant to Gorongosa National Park. Now it is your turn to help us decide how the money should be spent! We’ve selected 8 projects, 4 relating to wildlife restoration and 4 to human development needs. 2 projects from each category will receive a grant of $50,000.

Learn more about all of the projects here and then vote in our online survey. Voting is open January 1 through 24, 2014.

Vote Now! - Closed

Gorongosa National Park, in Mozambique, is perhaps Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration story, a 20-year Public-Private Partnership between the Government of Mozambique and the Gorongosa Restoration Project, a U.S. non-profit organization.

By adopting a 21st Century conservation model of balancing the needs of wildlife and people, Gorongosa Restoration Project is protecting and saving one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Africa.

Please select two projects to support in each of the Wildlife and Human Development categories:


Human Development:


$50,000 will support the monitoring of Gorongosa’s elephant population to study the lingering effects of Mozambique's civil conflict on the elephants – examining how it has impacted the population’s sex ratio, age structure and the degree of tusklessness.

Dr. Joyce Poole, one of the world's top elephant experts, came to Gorongosa in 2011 to begin a multi-year study of Gorongosa’s elephants - she and her ElephantVoices partner, Petter Granli and other team members will be getting to know all the individuals in the population, determining their age and sex, their family and clan structures, their home ranges, etc.

Many of today’ adults were orphaned during that period and a number of the older elephants in Gorongosa exhibit aggression towards vehicles. Dr. Joyce Poole will work to habituate these leaders to tourists, rebuild their trust, knowing that elephants are smart enough to distinguish between people who represent a threat and those who do not.

This work is producing incredible insights into the behavior of Gorongosa's beloved giants and providing conservationists across Africa with valuable data that will help them manage and protect these beautiful but vulnerable animals.

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$50,000 will support study of Gorongosa National Park’s lion population to research why the population hasn’t grown more significantly.

While wildlife is rebounding in the Park, lion numbers appear to have plateaued.  Our lion research team, led by Paola Bouley, is hard at work trying to understand how the lion population in Gorongosa is doing today.

Lion researcher Paola Bouley has so far identified a total of 26 individual lions. This represents the absolute minimum number of lions for the Park given the fact that the intensive surveys so far spanned only approximately 15% of the total area of Gorongosa National Park.

Our veterinarian, Dr. Rui Branco, fitted 4 lions with a satellite collar (3 males and 1 female lion). The study methods include trail cameras, direct observation, satellite tracking and use of spoor and scat.

This work will help us to understand how factors like prey composition and abundance, genetics, disease, and human impacts (including illegal hunting and park boundary effects) might be affecting the growth of the lion population.

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$50,000 will relocate approximately 50 zebras to Gorongosa National Park from another park in Africa.

Zebras in Gorongosa are not your typical zebra - they’re members of a distinct subspecies, called Crawshay’s zebra (Equus quagga crawshayi). This special zebra only lives in a area that spans eastern Zambia, Malawi, southeastern Tanzania, and Mozambique.

You can tell Crawshay’s zebras apart from other zebras by their thinner and denser black stripes, which extend all across their underbelly and all the way down to the hooves; there are never shadow-stripes (thin, light-brown stripes between the black ones).

We recently brought 7 zebras to the park, but our goal is to bring 100 more in order to rebuild a viable population.

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Young Scientists/Biodiversity Lab

$50,000 will support 10 science student’s field research in Gorongosa, which includes travel, room and board, and field expenses.

Gorongosa is Mozambique’s flagship National Park.  We are preparing young Mozambicans to be the next generation of leaders in all Park departments. As a part of this goal, we provide jobs, training, and hands-on experience to promising local youth.

In the Park's scientific services department, we are offering university students the opportunity to perform their science research projects in Gorongosa. This gives the student a chance to learn from our scientists, acquire field experience, and gain the experience they need to someday work on our team.

The [E.O. Wilson] Biodiversity Laboratory is a modern research facility, the first of its kind in Mozambique. It will offer long-term research and educational opportunities in ecology, conservation biology and taxonomy to Mozambican and visiting students and researchers. The Laboratory will include a synoptic biological collection.

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Nurse/Mobile Clinics

$50,000 will support two mobile clinics per week in five remote communities around Gorongosa National Park.

Many of the communities around Gorongosa National Park are very remote and it is difficult for many people to travel to the nearest hospital.

Our mobile clinics bring doctors and nurses to very remote communities for a day to treat patients, administer vaccines, provide pre- and postnatal care, family planning and HIV counseling and testing.

Our health initiatives are helping thousands of local community members to get the health care and preventative education that they need.

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Children's Conservation Education

$50,000 will support the Enviro-clubs and gardens in 50 schools around Gorongosa National Park.

At our Conservation Education Center (CEC) we bring in busloads of children from surrounding communities to learn.

We help them form "Enviro-clubs" and learn about basic environmental principles and the best practices of sustainable agriculture. School by school, we are creating thousands of little ambassadors for Gorongosa National Park!  We would like to expand this program.

In the Gorongosa area, schools often lack the basics like pens and paper, and classes are often held under the shade of a tree. The quality of learning inevitably suffers. We work to improve the infrastructure and resources of local schools. 

We are working with teachers and students to build gardens at their school - creating an outdoor classroom where kids can learn useful, hands-on skills that are also good for nature.  

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Ranger Training

$50,000 will support the recruitment and training of 40 new rangers from the communities around Gorongosa National Park.

The 120 rangers who patrol Gorongosa's vast wilderness are our heroes. Yet, finding snares is just one way we protect and save this beautiful park.

Our brave rangers play a critical role in protecting the lives of people and elephants in the buffer-zone communities around Gorongosa. We are looking at new ways of making sure our rangers don't have to put themselves in harm's way.

Ranger positions are good jobs for local people. We need additional training and equipment for all of them.

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Small Farmers/Conservation Agriculture

$50,000 will support the setup of 25 demonstration plots in the communities around Gorongosa National Park.

Farming is a way of life in the Gorongosa region and is essential for many people’s survival. We believe that farming can be done in a sustainable way that also provides high-quality food and income for local people.

We are working with local farmers to teach them conservation agriculture techniques by setting up demonstration plots, and providing seeds for high-value crops such as coffee, beans, corn, sorghum, sesame seeds, and peanuts.

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