COLUMBUS, Ohio — In an effort to save one of Ohio’s most-threatened creatures, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife provided funding for further conservation.
What You Need To Know
- A $500,000 check was presented to The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for wildlife conservation efforts in Ohio
- The funds will be used for facility upgrades to the Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center
- The freshwater mussel conservation partnership has been in place since 2003
ODNR Director Mary Mertz and Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker recently presented a $500,000 check to The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for wildlife conservation efforts in Ohio.
In a news release, ODNR announced the funds will be used for facility upgrades to the Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center and for conservation work to restore native amphibians and reptiles.
“We are thrilled to invest in Ohio’s wildlife and help restore populations of native wildlife,” Mertz said. “We are grateful for the world-renowned experts at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium who help us to make sure animals can prosper.”
According to ODNR, freshwater mussels are Ohio’s most endangered wild animal, and because of their at-risk status, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and others work to raise and release mussels into Ohio’s waterways.
“We are extremely grateful to ODNR for their generous support, which will help us to make an even bigger impact in protecting our native invertebrate, amphibian, and reptile species,” Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid said.
The freshwater mussel conservation partnership, which has been in place since 2003, includes the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio State University, USFWS and Columbus Parks and Recreation.
ODNR also applauded the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium efforts as an integral partner in restoring the Eastern Hellbender, Ohio’s largest salamander.
Through this partnership, more than 1,600 three-year-old animals have been propagated for release into 10 Ohio watersheds with the goal of delisting this endangered amphibian by establishing multiple self-sustaining populations.
The donation to The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium comes from funds ODNR received as part of the legal settlement with Monsanto Co. for damages its chemicals caused to Ohio’s fish and wildlife.