ODNR Division of Wildlife awards Columbus Zoo $500,000

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In an effort to save one of Ohio’s most endangered creatures, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division has allocated funds for continued conservation.

what you need to know

  • A check for $500,000 was presented to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for Ohio wildlife conservation efforts
  • The funds will be used to upgrade the facilities of the Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center
  • The partnership for the protection of freshwater mussels has existed since 2003

ODNR Director Mary Mertz and Chief Division of Wildlife Kendra Wecker recently presented the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium with a $500,000 check for Ohio wildlife conservation efforts.

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In a press release ODNR announced the media used for Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center facility upgrades and conservation work to restore native amphibians and reptiles.

“We are excited to invest in Ohio’s wildlife and help restore populations of native wildlife,” Mertz said. “We are grateful to the world-renowned experts at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for helping us ensure the animals are well.”

According to ODNR, freshwater mussels are Ohio’s most endangered wildlife, and because of their endangered status, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and others are working to farm and release mussels into Ohio’s waterways.

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“We are extremely grateful to ODNR for their generous support, which will help us make an even greater impact in protecting our native invertebrate, amphibian and reptile species,” said Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Established in 2003, the Freshwater Mussel Conservation Partnership includes the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio State University, USFWS and Columbus Parks and Recreation.

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ODNR also welcomed the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s efforts as an integral partner in the restoration of the Eastern Hellbender, Ohio’s largest salamander.

Through this partnership, more than 1,600 three-year-olds have been bred for release into 10 Ohio watersheds with the goal of de-listing this endangered amphibian by establishing multiple self-sustaining populations.

The donation to The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium comes from funds received by ODNR as part of the legal settlement with Monsanto Co. for damage its chemicals have caused to fish and wildlife in Ohio.

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