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Cumru Batty Billboard Save the Rodrigues Fruit Bat Autumn Palmer

Learn More About UNLESS


Learn more about the Focus Animals and Focus Challenges to support your UNLESS Contest projects.

Visit Philly Zoo to You to explore conservation topics.

Focus Animals

This year, you and your group will chose from one of five different animals that all have a special connection to the Philadelphia Zoo. Groups can decide to focus on Rodrigues Fruit Bats, Golden Lion Tamarins, Golden Coin Turtles, Indian White-eyes, and African Lions. Each of these species is also facing many significant challenges and are in need of conservation efforts to ensure that they do not go extinct.

Although we focus on species from all over the world, their stories match those to wildlife and challenges that exist right in our backyards. While learning more about your focus animal, consider the animals native to your area and your community. Who are the wildlife that live there? How are they experiencing similar challenges? What are things that you can do to support them while supporting our focus species?

GoldenLionTamarin 06

Golden Lion Tamarin

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RodFruitBat 06

Rodrigues Fruit Bat

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Golden Coin Turtle

Golden Coin Turtle

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Big Cat Falls African Lion e1572887525639

African Lion

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Indian white eye Zosterops palpebrosus egregius

Indian White-Eye

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Focus Challenges

The heart of the UNLESS Contest is the challenge that your group takes on. While working to support one of the ambassador animals, you and your group will choose to either focus on one of the following: Energy, Water, Waste, Policy, or Habitat. All of these contribute to climate change in a significant way, and climate change is impacting many animals and habitats across the globe.

It’s true that the earth’s temperature is steadily rising, but as the temperature continues to rise, our weather and climate are impacted in many different ways. Severe droughts, floods, heat waves, melting ice caps, and ocean acidification can all be attributed to climate change.

Many of the actions of humans causes the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  The buildup of greenhouse gases acts like a blanket around the earth. This blanket can have dangerous effects on ecosystems everywhere. All animals (including us) are being affected, but many, have become threatened with extinction.

Luckily, you are here to help us to make a difference! By making changes to energy use, water use, waste production, policy change, and habitat protection and restoration, we can make a big impact on climate change and for wildlife! Explore these topics further below. Additional information can also be found through our Recommended Reading List.


Participating in a virtual introduction call and field trip are an important part of the contest – it’s the best way for your group to connect directly with the Zoo and ask all the questions they want. Your introduction call is meant to be a kick off to the contest and provide more information on the topics that it covers. Your field trip provides your group an opportunity to visit the Zoo and learn further. Your group is always welcome to sign up for additional virtual sessions for Q&A or just a discussion with group leaders. Follow our step-by-step guide for further support.


After almost a year of hard work helping wildlife, we want to celebrate your efforts! Those that submit a final report will be invited to attend the UNLESS Contest Celebration Event in May (Date TBD). At the ceremony, winners of this year’s contest will be announced, and top place winners will receive an award and a monetary prize.