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Conservation: At Home and Around the World

Conservation touches every aspect of the North Carolina Zoo's missions and management. At home, the Zoo minimizes its waste and its consumption of natural resources. Around the world, the Zoo cooperates in field conservation programs. These good works depend almost entirely on donations from private individuals, foundations, corporations and government grants.

Zoo Field Conservation Programs for Animals

The Elephants of Cameroon
For more than 10 years, the Zoo has worked in Cameroon to protect wild elephants.

Cross River Gorillas
The Zoo is working in Nigeria and Cameroon to protect the last remaining population of Africa's most endangered ape.

Hellbenders, Frogs and other Amphibians
Zoo staff works with other state agencies to protect wild Hellbenders, frogs and other amphibians in North Carolina.

Box Turtle Conservation
The Zoo Society cooperates with the Box Turtle Conservation Workshop Committee to support the Lucille R. Stickel Box Turtle Research Award. Donated funds support research that contributes to the survival of wild box turtles, and so continues the life's work of Lucille Strickel, a biologists who died in 2007.

Red Wolves Conservation

The Zoo is working to restore the endangered Red Wolves through its Breeding and Reintroduction Program. 

Zoo Field Conservation Programs for Plants

African Plant Conservation
A program to protect some of Africa's rarest ecosystems

Regional Plant Conservation
The Zoo's programs to protect local species of rare plants

Other Zoo Conservation Programs

Zoo Partnership with Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park & Breeding Center
Many species of swans, geese and ducks face extinction because of habitat loss, pollution and other dangers. The conservation and education programs at Sylvan Heights Bird Park are, perhaps, the best hope for survival for many of these birds. We request your help in supporting Sylvan Heights' world-renowned breeding and conservation efforts for rare and endangered waterfowl.

Zoo Partnership for Polar Bears (Polar Bear International)
Working to protect the Arctic from Global Climate Change

Field Trip Earth
An online, program to empower teachers to teach conservation in their classrooms.

UNITE - for the Environment
The Zoo's ongoing educational outreach program in Uganda.

Where We Work in the Field

Most of the Zoo's international programs take place in western and central Africa, where staff works to protect elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos and endemic populations of monkeys and plants. In addition, the Zoo works in east Africa to provide conservation education to elementary and high school students.

The Zoo's regional conservation efforts extend into North Carolina's mountains to protect Hellbenders and sweep through the Piedmont to protect Ridges Mountain Natural Area, the Selma Cornelison Ward Nature Preserve and the Arnett Branch Longleaf Pine Forest. The Zoo also works to protect, and reestablish, wild populations of the endangered Schweinitz's Sunflower.

On-Site Conservation

Native Wildlife: The Zoo remains a vigilant steward of the native animals that travel freely across its borders and of the species it exhibits in the Park. Ongoing research protects the Zoo's native predators (skunks, bobcats, red and gray foxes, otters) and its box turtles, rattlesnakes and copperheads.

Exhibit Animals: The Zoo also conducts onsite conservation programs for the endangered cape fear shiner and the endangered Puerto Rican crested toad and cooperates in breeding and reintroduction programs for the endangered Red Wolf. Further, the Zoo collaborates on a series of non-invasive research projects directed at improving the health and well being of collection animals and advancing human understanding of various species' natural histories.

To learn more about the Zoo's extensive conservation work, download a copy of the Zoo's most recent Conservation Annual Report.

Additionally, the North Carolina Zoo, with support from the NC Zoo Society, has been recognized as a Polar Bear International© Arctic Ambassador Center.

In its role as an Arctic Ambassador Center, the Zoo has pledged to work toward the following goals:

* to exhibit Polar Bears with enough space, enrichment and stimulation to ensure them active and productive lives
* to work with local leaders to reduce their communities' carbon emissions
* to support Polar Bears International's research to conserve wild Polar Bears
* to contribute to Polar Bear International's Sustainability Alliance, a front-line team saving Polar Bears in a rapidly warming Arctic.

Learn more about the Zoo's work as an Arctic Ambassador Center

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." Ancient Native American Proverb