Dakota Zoo - Conservation

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A Dakota Zoo membership or daily admission is a ticket to a world of animal adventure, education and family entertainment for all ages, but the benefits don't stop there, because every membership and every visit also supports wildlife conservation through efforts like our raptor rehabilitation program, which since 1961 has successfully returned numerous birds of prey to the wild.


The Dakota Zoo is home to 15 endangered or threatened species that are part of Species Survival Plan Programs. These cooperative breeding and management programs are administered under the oversight of the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AZA) and are managed by volunteer administrators drawn from the animal care staffs of cooperating Zoos and Aquariums. SSP Programs seek to maintain vital populations of over 300 rare and endangered species through scientific breeding strategies, and the free exchange of best practices for the care of each species.


SSP Species at Dakota Zoo include:


Snow Leopard


Pallas' Cat

Black-footed Ferret

Mexican Gray Wolf

Przewalski's Horse

Tammar Wallaby

Swift Fox

Red-ruffed Lemur

Golden-headed Lion Tamarin

Cotton-Top Tamarin

Goeldi's Marmoset

White-fronted Marmoset

Brown-headed Spider Monkey

Swift Fox



To enhance local conservation efforts, the Dakota Zoo provides education for wildlife professionals through workshops and classes on animal immobilization and handling, and the Zoo provides raptor handling training and additional support for the staff of the North Dakota Golden Eagle Project.



Children attending our camps learn about Species Survival Plan Programs, raptor rehabilitation, animal enrichment and what they can do to help. Fourth grade students attend our annual Conservation Day event where they learn about conservation of both wildlife and natural resources. School groups also visit for self-guided tours and educational presentations for all grade levels. Adults are also afforded the oppotunity to learn about wildlife, and the role Zoos play in the conservation movement with our new "Adult Zookeeper Camps" presented in cooperation with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UND. Zoo visitors are also able to discover more about the animals they see and conservation efforts for individual species through our "Ask Me" and animal close-up programs as well as our full color informational signs at each exhibit.


Going Green at the Zoo

The Zoo tries to go green wherever possible, using low voltage fluorescent bulbs and comfortable but energy-conscious temperature settings for public areas of buildings. Office paper is shredded and repurposed as animal bedding, and aluminum cans, cardboard and plastic bottles are all recycled saving landfill space and energy. Building and fencing materials are also recycled or repurposed whenever practicable. The zoo also re-utilizes animal shelters, enclosures and even buildings whenever possible. Our Butterfly Building began its life as a rest room, the Primate Building started out as a Camel Barn/Administration Building and the Reptile/Small Mammals building was once our original Concession Stand.