The Oakland Zoo is hosting a fundraising campaign to support giraffe conservation on June 27, World Giraffe Day, and zoo officials want your old jeans.
The program, Jeans for Giraffes, benefits the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. As a key partner in this collaboration between several zoos in California, Oakland Zoo is collecting denim, to raise money to support giraffe research and to protect giraffe populations in Africa. That means you can bring in or mail jeans to the Oakland Zoo, even jeans that are old and well loved.
As an added benefit, your donated jeans help the planet by reducing waste; according to Oakland Zoo officials, the average person in the United States throws away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year, and 23.8 billion pounds of clothing end up in landfills each year. Denim collection bins will be placed outside the upper and lower entrances to Oakland Zoo.
“The decline in giraffe numbers across Africa is devastating,” said Darren Minier, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo. “Much is still unknown about giraffes, which has led to many misconceptions that may be impeding conservation efforts. More baseline knowledge is needed to save giraffes, which is why the Oakland Zoo is participating in World Giraffe Day. Giraffe Conservation Foundation has been vital in obtaining information regarding the status and threats to giraffes in many parts of Africa, and helping to carry out plans to keep giraffes from becoming extinct.”
The total number of giraffes in Africa was estimated (by International Union for Conservation of Nature) at more than 140,000 in 1998. Best estimates by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in 2013 showed an African-wide population of fewer than 80,000—a 60 percent decline in numbers in 15 years.
Jeans Can Be Mailed In
If you don’t live near the Oakland Zoo, you can ship your jeans to Amy Phelps, Oakland Zoo, PO Box 5238, Oakland, CA 94605. Jeans for Giraffes is an open-ended program; the Oakland Zoo has no cutoff date at this time. The Oakland Zoo is accepting other goods too.
If you live in other parts of the country, you can check with your local zoo to see if they accept used clothing and other items.
Michele C. Hollow writes about pets and wildlife for Parade and other national publications. Her blog, Pet News and Views, covers animal advocacy. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals. You can connect with her on Twitter.