Animal Care Facility

The Dakota Zoo is home to over 600 animals representing more than 125 species, each with its own unique set of care requirements. Many of the animals in our collection are endangered or threatened species that are involved in collaborative efforts with other zoos and wildlife agencies in programs called species survival plans. These plans help to ensure genetic diversity, oversee proper breeding programs and work to reintroduce animals back into the wild if secure environments are present.

Our animals receive the finest veterinary care possible, thanks to the vision and generosity of some long-time Zoo supporters.

The Dr. James & Edna Moses Animal Care Facility is a fully equipped veterinary hospital located on the zoo grounds which is staffed by a local Veterinarian; Dr. Kelly Thorsness, who donates 100% of his time at the zoo. In addition to their work with the Zoo’s animals, Dr. Kelly also conducts a variety of educational presentations in the Animal Care Facility, including hands-on demonstrations during our Junior Zookeeper camps, and seminars for animal care professionals.

Complementing the work of our Zoo Vet, the Keeper staff closely observe and monitor our animals daily, which is essential to maintain the health and well being of our residents. Our keepers’ detailed knowledge of the habits of the animals under their care, combined with daily interaction, allows any potential health issues to be quickly identified and remedied. 

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