Conservation 2018-01-22T17:55:01+00:00


Conservation is a key component of Cosley Zoo’s mission.

We demonstrate our commitment to conservation on a daily basis by participating in environmentally friendly practices such as recycling, composting food scraps, re-purposing materials rather than buying new ones, and installing energy-efficient lighting. We also participate in several large-scale conservation initiatives.

Coins for Conservation

coins for conservation

Your support can change the world. Stop by and visit the Coins for Conservation Display at Cosley Zoo and donate your spare change to help support conservation efforts for these endangered species.

Or make a donation here.


The World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal


The population of this small porpoise has been reduced to just 30 individuals due to drowning from entanglement in nets used for illegal totoaba fishing. Your contributions will fund Vaquita CPR, a bold plan to bring the remaining vaquitas into a sanctuary until their habitat in the upper Gulf of California can be made safe. Extinction of the vaquita is imminent without the elimination of gillnets and gillnet fishing

To learn more or donate, visit:


The Only True Wild Horse on the Planet


Conservation efforts have increased this horse’s population from only 14 individuals to more than 500. Far from being safe, much work still needs to be done to ensure their survival. Your donations will help secure the future of Asian Wild Horses in their natural habitat by supporting the development of artificial water holes. These water holes will encourage expansion of the horses in the Hustai National Park in Mongolia.

To learn more or donate, visit: and/or


Illinois Endangered Reptile


Due to illegal capture, loss of habitat, predation, and vehicle and fishing accidents, this once-numerous local resident is now struggling to survive. Your donations will help Cosley Zoo and its local partners, like The Forest Preserve of DuPage County, in efforts to rear young turtles for release and improve the quality of their natural wetland habitat. Donations will fund continued research and purchase food and equipment vital to the long-term success of this project.

To donate, visit:

Thank you to our sponsor for supporting Cosley Zoo’s conservation efforts.

Wheaton Bank & Trust Logo

Blanding’s Turtle Head Start Program

Cosley Zoo is proud to partner with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, as well as the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Brookfield Zoo, and St. Charles Park District, in this program which works to help increase the wild population of Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Illinois.

Blanding’s Turtles are medium-sized semi-aquatic turtles whose distribution is concentrated around the Great Lakes. Their population has been declining in recent years due to the loss of available wetland habitat. In addition, increased pressure from predators has caused a decrease in the number of turtles surviving to sexual maturity (15-20 years of age). In 2009, Blanding’s Turtles were added to the endangered species list in Illinois.


Cosley Zoo participates in several conservation initiatives on an on-going basis, including a program to save the Blanding’s Turtle.

The Head Start program aims to increase the number of Blanding’s Turtles surviving long enough to reproduce. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County collects gravid (pregnant) turtles from the wild and houses them until they lay their eggs. After the eggs hatch and the young turtles are off to a good start, some of them are raised by Cosley Zoo staff until they are two years of age. The turtles are reared at an accelerated rate, so that when they are released back into a DuPage County wetland, the two-year-olds are each roughly the size of a naturally-reared five-year-old turtle, and should be less vulnerable to predators. The young Blanding’s Turtles are not on display at the zoo in order to minimize their exposure to humans, but we do have an exhibit containing adult Blanding’s Turtles which can be viewed by the public, as well as a live video feed of the turtle rearing area.

Links to more information on Blanding’s Turtles:

  • Cosley Zoo relies heavily on donations for the Head Start Program. You can help by becoming a “Blanding’s Buddy” and donating money towards the care of the Blanding’s Turtles. Click here for more information about the Blanding’s Buddy program.
  • Read articles from TribLocal on the Blanding’s Turtle Head Start Program:
  • Click here for a fun activity sheet with more information on Blanding’s Turtles.

Party for the Planet

Cosley Zoo hosts this annual event each April along with more than 100 other zoos and aquariums throughout the country. This is the largest combined Earth Day event in North America! Party for the Planet features conservation-focused activities for families and promotes ideas for establishing “green” practices in our visitors’ own backyards. Check our Events page in the spring for more information about Party for the Planet.


FrogWatch USA™

Do you have an interest in Frogs and Toads? Become a FrogWatch USA Volunteer!

You do not have to be a frog or toad expert to be a FrogWatch USA™ volunteer!  All you need is:

  • An interest in frogs and toads
  • A willingness to participate in a volunteer training session at Cosley Zoo, your local FrogWatch USA Chapter
  • A commitment to monitor a wetland site for 3 minutes multiple evenings throughout the breeding season (February-August).

2018 Training Dates for FrogWatch at Cosley Zoo

Sunday, March 25, 3-5P or Friday, April 20, 6-8P
Fee: $7/person; $20/household (or group)*

*One person per household or group must attend training but all are encouraged to attend.

Email for more information.

FrogWatch Cosley Zoo is a local chapter of FrogWatch USA, AZA’s flagship citizen science program that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads.

FrogWatch USA volunteers play an important role in amphibian conservation. Over 2000 amphibian species are currently threatened with extinction and many more are experiencing sharp population declines. This alarming trend may be a sign of deteriorating wetland health because amphibians can serve as indicator species.

To learn more about amphibian conservation and FrogWatch USA™ click here.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Each February, we train our Junior Zookeepers in backyard bird identification and encourage them to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count ( Participation is quick and simple, requiring individuals to monitor bird populations anywhere in the world, including their own backyards, for a minimum of 15 minutes, and then submit the results online. This data provides scientists with valuable information about wild bird populations.

The next Great Backyard Bird Count is February 16-19, 2018.

Cosley Zoo offers a training session for individuals and families who would like to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. The 2018 training session is January 27 from 1-2 PM. The fee for the training session is $7 per person or $20 per household or group. For more information or to register, please contact Natasha at