WASHINGTON - World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Coinstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSTR) today announced a two-month promotion to help save the world's big cats. Through September 30, individuals who donate $15 or more in coins through a participating Coinstar® Center will have the opportunity to receive SundarTM, a limited edition snow leopard Beanie Baby®. Sundar is one in a series of Beanie Babies® developed by Ty Inc. to benefit WWF.
The new promotion supports WWF's Pennies for the Planet, a program to get young people involved in conservation by educating them about the importance of biodiversity, encouraging them to learn more and teach others, and providing them an opportunity to take action to protect endangered animals and places.
This year, kids are learning about three highly endangered big cat species-snow leopards, Amur leopards, and Sumatran tigers-and their pennies are going directly to on-the-ground conservation efforts to protect them. Many adults are also regular Pennies for the Planet contributors. Since the launch of WWF's partnership with Coinstar, more than $100,000 has been contributed to Pennies through Coinstar Centers.
What can $15 do for Snow Leopards?
- employ a local person for one day to assist snow leopard researchers;
- erect a sign in a national park in Bhutan and Nepal with information on snow leopards;
- pay for a local school teacher to teach conservation education for one day or;
- create educational material about snow leopard conservation for 50 schools in Bhutan and Nepal.
A donation option available on approximately 11,000 Coinstar Centers in participating supermarkets in the U.S. allows participants to quickly and easily put their coins to work protecting big cats. Donors simply follow the on-screen prompts, select WWF and pour their loose change into the machine. The machine counts the coins and prints a tax-deductible receipt for the amount of the donation. Those who donate $15 or more in change through the program will receive a special mail-in offer for their Sundar Beanie Baby.
Many big cat species around the world are threatened with extinction. The Amur leopard is one of the most endangered species in the world: Only 20-30 are thought to be left in the wild. Although they used to be found throughout northeast China and the Korean peninsula, today they are confined to a single province of eastern Russia, largely due to heavy poaching. Money donated to Pennies for the Planet will be used to fund anti-poaching teams, as well as environmental education programs for Russian youth.
Preventing the extinction of the Sumatran tiger-which some experts think may be the first large mammal to go extinct in the 21st century-depends on a solid understanding of the tigers' movements and habits. Money donated to Pennies for the Planet will help fund an Indonesian graduate student's research on Sumatran tigers, allowing him to purchase radio collars and follow the tigers' movements.
Money donated to Pennies for the Planet will also go towards two snow leopard conservation projects-helping a Bhutanese wildlife research team carry out a census of snow leopards in Bhutan and training park staff and local people to do research for snow leopard conservation in Nepal's remote northern mountains.
To learn more about the World Wildlife Fund's Pennies for the Planet program, visit www.worldwildlife.org/pennies. To locate a Coinstar Center near you, visit www.coinstar.com.