Nashville Zoo is tons of fun and a great place to see fascinating animals…but there is also a lot of serious conservation work happening here.

Our experienced staff is actively involved in research, habitat protection, breeding programs and education initiatives around the globe as well as in our own backyard.

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Highlighted Conservation Projects

Clouded Leopard

At Nashville Zoo more than 28 cubs have been born in 17 litters since 2009. All of our clouded leopard cubs are raised by hand. This technique prevents parental predation, enables cubs to be paired at early ages and allows this normally nervous species to become acclimated to the sights and sounds of human interaction typical in an exhibit environment. Read more

Giant Anteater

Seventeen giant anteaters have been born at Nashville Zoo since 2001. The Zoo is recognized as a leader in caring for captive giant anteaters, as well as tamanduas (lesser anteater), and its reproductive success with the breeding of giant anteaters. The Zoo’s animal care and veterinary staff are currently working on an anteater care manual in conjunction with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Program. Read more


Nashville Zoo is proud to be the first organization in the world to breed one of the largest salamanders in the world, Eastern hellbenders, and the first to breed hellbenders using biotechnology. The Zoo’s captive breeding program is now an international collaboration working to save this giant amphibian from extinction. Read more

Puerto Rican Crested Toad

Thought to be extinct, the Puerto Rican Crested Toad was rediscovered in the 1960’s. Since then, only a single population has been found to exist in the Guanica State Forest. In collaboration with other AZA accredited zoos and US and Puerto Rican wildlife agencies, Nashville Zoo is successfully breeding thousands of Puerto Rican Crested Toads and releasing them into protected areas of their native land. Read more

Recent Conservation News

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Financial Contributions to Conservation

When the Zoo can’t be actively involved, we contribute proceeds gained from your support to a wide array of incredible efforts organized by other environmental protection programs. Major contributions since 2012 include:

Species Survival Plan

Nashville Zoo participates in a number of Species Survival Plan programs with other zoos worldwide. Most SSP species are endangered or threatened in the wild. Each SSP carefully manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Baird's Tapir
Clouded Leopard
Eastern Bongo
Freshwater Stingray
Galapagos Tortoise
Giant Anteater
Green Woodhoopoe
Haitian Giant Galliwasp
Indigo Snake
Lance-Headed Rattlesnake
Lined Sea Horse
Masai Giraffe
Komodo Dragon
Panamanian Gold Frog
Prehensile Tailed Porcupine
Puerto Rican Crested Toad
Red-Crowned Crane
Red Panda
Red River Hog
Red-Ruffed Lemur
Rhinoceros Hornbill
Ring-Tailed Lemur
South African Springbok
Southern Three-Banded Armadillo
Spectacled Owl
White-Cheeked Gibbon
Yellow Blotched Map Turtle

Green Team

The Nashville Zoo Green Team is an internal committee that meets monthly to discuss, plan, and implement ways in which the Nashville Zoo can be more sustainable, resourceful and environmentally conscious. It is the Green Team’s mission to “pursue efficient and sustainable practices while promoting, educating and leading our community towards improving environmental responsibility.”

The Green Team hosts the semiannual Green Sweep cleanup of the Zoo property, has implemented bottle filling water fountains, enhanced Zoo recycling programs, and conducted energy audits that have reduced electricity, water usage and the Zoo’s carbon footprint.

View recent Green Team news