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

Loggerhead Shrike

The loggerhead shrike, along with many other grassland bird species, is in steep decline and could decline by half in the next 25 years without significant action. The Nashville Zoo is a participating member of the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Working Group and has been surveying and monitoring loggerhead shrikes in Middle Tennessee since 2013. 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

Rhinoceros Hornbill

The Nashville Zoo is a proud participant in the Rhinoceros Hornbill Species Survival Plan (SSP) and over the last decade has become the most prolific producer of rhinoceros hornbills in the United States with more than 18% of the hornbills in the SSP being hatched from the Nashville Zoo. 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:

Andean Bear Conservation Alliance

Bat Conservation International

Caribbean Wildlife AllianceSupporting Puerto Rican Crested Toad conservation

Cheetah Conservation Fund

Clouded Leopard Consortium

Duke Lemur Center

Giant Anteater ProjectSupporting efforts in Brazil

Giant Armadillo Project

Giraffe Conservation Foundation

Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education

Instituto di Pesquisas EcologicasTapir, Giant Anteater & Giant Armadillo in Brazil

International Elephant FoundationSupporting efforts in Nigeria’s Yankari Game Preserve

International Rhino FoundationSupporting efforts in Zimbabwe

Lewa Wildlife ConservancySupporting elephant conservation

Lowland Tapir Conservation InitiativeSupporting efforts in Brazil

Minnesota Zoo FoundationSupporting tiger conservation

National Elephant Center

Proyecto TitiSupporting Cotton-top Tamarin conservation

Rainforest Awareness Rescue Education CenterSupporting Amazonian manatee and woolly monkey conservation

Rare Species Conservation TrustSupporting clouded leopard and civet conservation

Red Panda NetworkSupporting efforts in Nepal

Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandSupporting Pallas' cat field work in Iran, Nepal, Mongolia and Kazakhstan

Save Vietnam's WildlifeSupporting pangolin conservation

SiaSupporting eagle conservation

Tiger Conservation CampaignSupporting efforts in Sumatra and Asia

Turtle Survival Alliance

Wildlife Conservation GlobalSupporting okapi conservation

Wildlife Conservation SocietySupporting elephant conservation


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