Today the Girl Guides State Commissioner, Belinda Allen, presented a cheque for $19,250 to the Taronga Foundation, continuing their 18 years of support for the Zoo. This year the Girl Guides are contributing to the refurbishment of the home of the Zoo’s renowned Chimpanzee groups. It will help maintain the Chimpanzee conservation education program.
The money was raised by the Girl Guides annual sleepover at the Zoo on 6-7 August, attended by some 1,200 girls and their leaders. The girls enjoy the wonderful location, met some of the animals and had a great time singing along to karaoke. Belinda Allen describes this year as especially memorable, falling in the Centenary year of Girl Guides world wide.
“This is one of our most popular events”, she said, “and not just for girls having fun. They share a real concern for the future of the planet, the preservation of the environment and the salvation of endangered species. Of course, we all love the Chimps.”
The cheque was accepted by the Director of the Foundation and CEO of the Taronga and Western Plains Zoos, Cameron Kerr, who, said: “This remarkably generous support from Girl Guides NSW and ACT speaks volumes about how committed today’s youth is to helping ensure there is a sustainable future for humans and wildlife.”
“While there is no doubt Chimpanzees are amongst our most popular animals at Taronga”, he added, ”they are also our nearest relatives sharing over 98% of our DNA. Alarmingly, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists Chimpanzees as endangered and called in June this year for an African Action plan to save 96% of remaining populations. “
The presentation ceremony occurred outside the refurbished exhibition where the Chimpanzees were just having breakfast. Representing the girls were Skye Jessett, age 8, of nearby Mosman Junior Guides and her sister Anna, 10, who has just been promoted to Mosman Guides.