Wilhelma Zoo been has been a champion for Virunga for the last four years and their latest effort has produced an agreement with Disney’s Tarzan Musical in Stuttgart, Germany. Stefanie Reska, who is in charge of the education and conservation department at Wilhelma, has been working on this cooperative agreement for nearly a year now. Just days before heading out on a trip to Virunga in February, Stefanie met with the producers of the musical and secured a one year cooperative agreement that will benefit Virunga National Park’s Congohounds project. The project, led by Dr. Marlene Zahner, is an anti-poaching effort centered around the use of bloodhound “man trailing” dogs and spaniel “sniffer” dogs trained to find ivory.
Tarzan Host, Christof Schmid from Stage Entertainment, interviews Wilhelma Director Dr. Thomas Kölpin about the Congohound project
Soon after Stefanie got back from Virunga, Wilhelma and the Tarzan musical held their first charity event. After the musical, Tarzan’s Area Director – South, Jürgen Marx and Wilhelma’s Director, Dr. Kölpin, went onto the stage and talked about the threat to the mountain gorillas and other wildlife. They also explained how the Congohounds Project is protecting them. Attendees were encouraged to support the project, and by the time the theater emptied, 1500€ in support had been given to the project.
The next event will be on May 1st. Marlene and her dogs will be present, as will staff from Wilhelma Zoo. At this particular event, Disney will be showing the first ten minutes of its Tarzan show three times. In order to get a seat at these sneak previews, people will have to make a reservation online and pay 2.5€. This reservation fee will benefit the Congohounds project. Stefanie and her team have also created a permanent display at the theater, which features a slideshow of dogs at work in Virunga National Park. A life-size model of a gorilla stands close by and gladly accepts on-the-spot donations.
The Congohound rangers sporting Tanzan shirts donated by Stage Entertainment
A Happy Chief Warden, Emmanuel de Merode with Marlene Zahner (L) and Stefanie Reska (R)
A big “Thank you” to everyone involved in this great effort!