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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, using a rain barrel to collect water for plants, 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 vaquita porpoise, which inhabits the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico, is in imminent danger of extinction due to illegal gillnet fishing. These gillnets, meant to catch the totoaba, which is sold on the black market in China and Hong Kong for its supposed medicinal properties, also ensnare and kill vaquitas. There are currently fewer than 30 individuals remaining in the wild. Your contributions will fund Vaquita CPR, which is working with the Mexican government to remove gillnets and raise awareness.

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 an increased population 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


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

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.

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 seasonally, as well as a live video feed of the turtle rearing area.

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).

Cosley Zoo’s 2019 Frogwatch training sessions are Sunday, March 31 from 3-5P OR Friday, April 26 from 6-8P.
Training is $7/person or $20/family or group. Please email for more information or to register.

FrogWatch Cosley Zoo is a local chapter of FrogWatch USA, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ 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 2,000 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, zoo staff train 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.

Cosley Zoo also offers a training session for individuals and families who would like to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, which next occurs February 15-18, 2019. Cosley Zoo’s 2019 training session is Saturday, February 2 from 1-2P. Training is $7/person or $20/family or group. For more information or to register, please e-mail

Cosley Zoo Conservation Fund Donation

Help fund important local, national and global conservation efforts supported by Cosley Zoo.