Colchester Zoo's charity 'Action for the Wild' is supporting 15 worldwide conservation projects in 2011, their contribution amounting to R2.1 million.
The largest contribution is to the development of UmPhafa, the zoo's Private Nature Reserve in South Africa, but other beneficiaries will include an Elephant Orphanage Project in Zaire and the Free the Bears Foundation based in Laos, Cambodia.
Action for the Wild achieved charitable status in 2004 and is dedicated to supporting and assisting in conservation projects throughout the world. The trust provides the essential financial and technical assistance needed for these projects, whilst working to raise awareness and respect for nature through formal and informal educational programmes.
One of its main priorities is to set up the UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. This area has historically been inhabited by 35 mammal species but due to previous farmland management many of these species have now disappeared. The project has already introduced 13 new species to the area and hopes to release endangered species such as cheetah, hyena and African wild dog in the future. It has already bred white rhino, giraffe and zebra.
Action for the Wild is continuing with its support for the Elephant Orphanage project, Wildlife Vets International, Orang-utan Foundation, The Gyps Vulture Restoration Project and Lion Tamarins of Brazil Fund amongst several others. They have also added the Free Bears Fund to their list, a charity that played an important role in the rescue and rehabilitation of the zoo's sun bears Jo-Jo and Srey Ya.