Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 26

'Our ability to connect to
people and connect animals
to people is what sets us apart.'
-Jennifer Mickelberg, vice president of animal
collections and conservation, Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta scientists teamed with outside experts to unlock the
mystery of how Komodo dragons evolved by sequencing the
creatures' genome-a first in the study of lizards.

Georgia and teamed with Georgia Tech on its Urban
Honey Bee Project.
Earlier this year, researchers at the Gladstone
Institutes in San Francisco, in close collaboration
with the University of California in San Francisco
and Zoo Atlanta, completed the sequencing of the
Komodo dragon genome, and their published study
provided invaluable insights into how that species
evolved.
"The cool thing about zoos is that we have professionals with unique expertise," Mickelberg says.
"We can go out and work with colleagues together,
and it's exciting to share knowledge and exchange
information. We're all passionate about the same
thing and are in it for the same cause."
And unlike many organizations that focus on
giving, the zoo has a distinct advantage: Almost
1 million people come through its gates each year.
"Our ability to connect to people and connect
animals to people is what sets us apart," Mickelberg
says. "So it's also our responsibility to help [visitors]
learn about the species and the habitats we have
and how they can protect them. Each animal here is
an ambassador for its wild counterparts, so we give

For more information on Zoo Atlanta's conservation
programs and how you can participate, visit
zooatlanta.org/conservation.

26

Georgia Magazine

November 2019

them the opportunity to shine so people can see
them doing things they might in the wild."

Fostering grassroots efforts
The zoo also takes the opportunity to get those
visitors thinking about ways they can help the animal community. The critical message: Reduce, reuse
and recycle.
"Think about the environment," Mickelberg
says. "For instance, most people probably have no
idea that a metal in your cellphone is mined in many
of the habitats where you find gorillas in the wild. As
the demand for cellphones has increased, it's had a
serious impact on gorilla conservation. We've partnered with several groups to recycle this resource,
and if people recycle their cellphones, it ultimately
benefits gorillas."
In the same way, consumers of products containing palm oil who opt for sustainable brands support the orangutan population in Southeast Asia.
"They may go extinct if we don't do something,
and we can vote with our dollars by being smart
about products we choose," Mickelberg says. "Sometimes just spreading the word about ways to protect
these species is the most powerful thing we do. It
only takes a few people doing things to make a big
difference."
H.M. Cauley is an Atlanta-based freelance
writer.


http://www.zooatlanta.org/conservation

Georgia Magazine - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - November 2019

Contents
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 4
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 5
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 6
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 7
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 8
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 9
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 10
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 11
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 12
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 13
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 14
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 15
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 16
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 17
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 18
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 19
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 20
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 21
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 22
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 23
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 24
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 25
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 26
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 27
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 28
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 29
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 30
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 31
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 32
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 33
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 34
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 35
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 36
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 37
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 38
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 39
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 40
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 41
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - 42
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - November 2019 - Cover4
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