Zoo Boise Donates Quarter Million To Preserve Foothills

Apr 28, 2017

Zoo Boise is giving a quarter of a million dollars to the city to help protect the foothills. It's all part of the zoo’s conservation mission.

Zoo Boise raises conservation funds to help wildlife in need all around the world. So Director Steve Burns says giving some of that money to preserve the Boise Foothills makes perfect sense.

“This is our backyard,” says Burns.

Burns says people love the foothills, but it’s also a home for a wide variety of wildlife.

“There’s deer, there’s elk, there’s badgers, coyotes. It’s a huge wintering range for all kinds of animals, all kinds of birds,” says Burns.

The money will be used three ways. First, to find areas in the foothills that need extra protection and are good candidates for restoration. Then comes restoration of those critical areas, including slowing the spread of invasive species, like cheatgrass. Burns says some of that money could help with critical questions about the restoration process.

“How do you get more native plants back into the ground and out-competing those invasive species? How do you, sort of, tip the fight?” asks Burns.

Finally, the money will help experts monitor the progress of that restoration. The Zoo will donate $50,000 a year for five years to the foothills effort. That’s on top of the $100,000 the Zoo donated last year to help restore Table Rock after a wildfire.

The money comes from special events at the Zoo and from a $.50 cent conservation fee paid for each zoo admission. Over 10 years, the zoo has raised $2.3 million to help conserve animals in the wild.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio