Making It Count
As 2022 comes to a close, there’s so much to be grateful for. Over the past few years, we’ve all learned a lot about resilience, and we here at the Animal Park have been reminded that we owe ours to you, our APCC community. Your support means that we’ve been able to continue—and even expand—our work toward our mission of educating people, caring for animals, and advocating for species.
As we reflect back over 2022, we’ve been doing a little math that we’d like to share with you.
The number of opportunities we’ve had so far this year to welcome the public to the Park to learn about our animals and the species they represent.
Through 350 tours, events, birthday parties, field trips, and more, we’ve watched visitors’ faces light up as they meet our residents, become absorbed by their stories, and leave with a new understanding of each species’ (and our own) place in the natural world. It’s especially rewarding to see the excitement in younger generations who visit through our summer camps, class trips, and collaboration with Elon Academy. And our opportunities to welcome visitors just keep growing. In November, we hosted our biggest event since the pre-pandemic era, sharing the Animal Park with over 200 guests at Pumpkin Prowl. Next year promises to be even better. We’re gearing up for a festive Tree Toss in January, and are thrilled to announce the return of our popular Lions, Tigers, & Beer event in September. In case you’re wondering what makes all of this possible…
Volunteer hours devoted to the Park every month, an average that’s still going up!
We’ve been thankful to welcome an influx of new volunteers this year, as well as dedicated former volunteers who had not been able to visit during the pandemic. On the staff side, we’ve hired a new Animal Keeper and an Education and Volunteer Program Manager, and are working to bring on a Marketing and Communications Manager to round out our team. To help give those staff members and volunteers the tools they need to do their jobs well, we were fortunate to receive financial assistance this year from grants (one from the NC Science Museums Grant Program, another from the American Rescue Plan Act), from supporters at Furry Weekend Atlanta, and from our Summer FUNdraiser. Those financial and human resources are crucial, especially when you consider needs like…
The amount of food that will have been fed to our animals by the end of this year.
That’s 64,000 pounds! Consider all that meat, produce, and other dietary items being custom-prepared and delivered to each individual animal every day—along with a whole lot of other duties to ensure our residents’ health and happiness—and you can tell that our keepers and volunteers have been very busy. It takes a lot of work to care for our animals, from their 59 heads to all 574 toes. Excellent nutrition, husbandry practices, and veterinary care pay off in our residents’ well-being and longevity. And even after our animals are gone, many continue to help us at the Park and at organizations around the world learn how to improve health and quality of life for other animals (including humans!) in the future. In fact, there are…
The number of ways we and our residents contributed in 2022 to research that benefits species—both animals in human care and those in the wild.
Those of you who knew Katrina Lion, who we lost this year at age 17, may be interested to learn that a tissue sample from a tumor in her mammary gland is now being used to grow cell lines for cancer research that could potentially help other animals, as well as humans. Our participation in the project came through Dr. Tara Harrison, DVM, Associate Professor of Zoo and Exotic Animal Medicine at NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine; in addition to providing care to our animals, she is the Primary Investigator for the Exotic Species Cancer Research Alliance. We’ve also donated samples for other cancer research, genetic research, and Covid research under way at NCSU and Texas A&M. Tissue from Tessa Chausie, our jungle cat–domestic cat hybrid who died this year at 23, is now part of research at Texas A&M into hybridization, an issue that’s being studied in endemic jungle cat territory. The remains of our late 20-plus-year-old Aleco Kinkajou (like those of his companion Abigail Kinkajou and Tsumi Singing Dog before him) were contributed for study to the Harvard Museum for Comparative Zoology. We’re also sharing measurements and behavioral information regarding aging in the species to the New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, and we’ve donated funding to support Geoffroy’s cat research in the wild (as detailed on a new sign by our Geoff exhibit). We’re grateful that all of these animals that we—and so many of you—have loved dearly over the years can continue to make a positive impact. And if you’re ready to fall in love with a few more…
The special, year-end discount we’re introducing for supporters who’d like to become new Lifetime Adopters.
By reducing the rate for the first full year of adoption, we hope that even more people can experience the joy and the learning that come from developing a lasting personal relationship with one of our animals—or more than one! Current adopters can welcome a new adoptee to their family at a 20% discount for the first year. And, on the subject of support…
The amount we’re asking our APCC family to help us raise by December 31 during our year-end campaign.
Will you join us to close out 2022 on a high note and continue working toward our mission in 2023? Your donation, whether large or small, will contribute to important projects like winterizing animal habitats with new heaters and heating pads, and rebuilding our Visitors Center deck (which serves such a vital role as the spot where we welcome our visitors) after it sustained damage this fall from Hurricane Ian.
For reference, just one double-walled insulated den box for a small cat requires 192 square feet of plywood. The bottom line is…
However you do the Animal Park math, it all adds up to many successes in 2022 and an exciting new year ahead. One we can’t wait to share with you! Thank you, as always, for being such a valued part of our community.
All my best,
Ready to donate? The process is now easier than ever—click the donate button above and follow the simple steps provided. You can also contribute by visiting AnimalParkNC.org, or by mailing a check to Animal Park at the Conservators Center, P.O. Box 882, Mebane, NC 27302. Sending you oofs, howls, and chuffles of thanks!