-- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo visitors raise over $100,000, one quarter at a time,  for orangutans, penguins, tigers, and other endangered species -

June 8, 2012, Colorado Springs, CO – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is kicking off the summer with an exciting announcement. More people than ever are experiencing the magic of America’s only mountain zoo and connecting with wild places without leaving the country! The numbers are tallied and the zoo saw a record year in 2011 – 2012 (May - April), with attendance reaching 607,000; that’s 33,000 more visitors than the 574,000 in 2010 – 2011. A large portion of the increase can be attributed to record spring break crowds this past March. Approximately 60% of all Cheyenne Mountain Zoo visitors are from the Pikes Peak region. Just this past week TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, distinguished Cheyenne Mountain Zoo as one of the top 10 zoos in the country.

More people through the zoo gate means record funding for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Quarters for Conservation (Q4C) program, too. Q4C raised a grand total of $130,500 in 2011 – 2012 to support conservation programs regionally and globally, an increase of nearly $12,000 over last year.

Q4C empowers every zoo guest who walks through the gate to change the world one quarter at a time. $0.25 of each admission, along with a portion of education program fees and memberships, are contributed to annually selected conservation organizations. Guests receive a token upon arriving at the zoo to vote for their favorite project, which helps the zoo determine how the money is allocated. 50% of the amount collected funds projects championed by zoo staff for the year, while the remaining amount is designated for ongoing flagship conservation programs, including saving African elephants, black-footed ferrets, and Wyoming toads. Any additional spare change dropped in the voting kiosks by guests provides direct project support as well.

Here’s how zoo visitors voted to spend the funding in 2011 - 2012:

  • Help raise and protect wild African penguins: $15,955.77
  • Help save wild Amur leopards and tigers: $15,716.92
  • Help protect wild orangutans and their habitat: $10,018.76
  • Help release wild African vultures in Namibia: $9,358.11
  • Help rescue amphibians in panama: $8,911.93
  • Help release gibbons back to the wild: $7,472.02

This year, visitors can vote to:

  • Help protect Colorado migratory birds
  • Help save African elephants and black rhinos
  • Help release wild African vultures in Namibia
  • Help rescue amphibians in Panama
  • Help raise and protect wild African penguins
  • Help protect wild orangutans and their forest habitat

Click here to see pictures of visitors voting at the new Quarters for Conservation kiosks.

Local artists Randy Bowen and Bob Tudor designed the new Quarters for Conservation voting kiosks for 2012 - 2013. With fun “gizmos” and “whizbangs,” the kiosks make saving species fun and interactive.

Since Quarters for Conservation began at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 2008, $464,000 has been earmarked for conservation programs around the world. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was the first zoo to expand the Quarters for Conservation concept by getting guests involved through the use of interactive voting kiosks at the front gate. Now, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is leading the charge in encouraging other zoos and conservation institutions to launch their own programs.