Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Meerkats exploring money bags at the Taronga Green Grants 2013 launch

Taronga’s Meerkats and Sun Bears today found their breakfast hidden inside hessian money bags incorporating a $50 000 message to help the environment.

The bags with favourite animal food treats hidden inside were a novel way for Taronga’s conservationists to spread the word that the Zoo is offering a grant for the best idea to help Australians live a greener lifestyle.

Taronga Zoo Director, Cameron Kerr, said: “For the animals, this is an exciting and unusual way to have breakfast and is all part of our behavioural enrichment program, designed to give them challenges and choices.”

“For us humans, the bags represent the financial backing to turn a great idea to help our environment into reality,” said Cameron.

“We’re looking for an innovative idea like the next Earth Hour or Clean Up Australia Day and we want to help its creator put it into action.”

“This is the second series of Taronga Green Grants. The inaugural winner in 2011 was Take 3, a clean beach initiative which encouraged people to collect three pieces of rubbish every time they went to the beach.”

Meerkat next to money bag at Taronga Green Grants launch 2013

“The simplicity of this message and the easy community action which could be applied to many different environments made it stand out from the crowd.”

“It’s that kind of thinking that we are looking for again this year,” said Cameron.

“It is a terrifying thought, but researchers predict that one third of the species on the planet could be extinct by 2050. While Australia has one of the highest extinction rates in the world, it might be a home-grown idea that contributes to a global solution.”

Taronga Green Grants For the Wild applications close 17 May. More details can be found here

The Taronga Green Grant is funded by the Taronga Foundation.

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