As 2022 and our 25th year at Grassmere come to a close, we are so excited to look back at all that YOU made possible this year. Between breeding firsts, helping endangered animals around the globe, and being surprised by the cutest little nugget - this year has been full of success!
Celebrating 25 Years at Grassmere
We’ve experienced tremendous growth since opening our doors in 1997. We are proud to now be one of the top attractions in the state, annually welcoming over a million visitors. Earlier this year, we looked back on the past 25 years and shared some of our plans for the future.
Helping Native Wildlife
Through collaboration, research and headstart programs, we are working to save species in our own backyard.
We teamed up again this summer with our local partners to release 34 Eastern hellbenders into Middle Tennessee streams after being raised at the Zoo as part of a headstart program. We’ve been working to save this state endangered species for nearly two decades.
Eastern Box Turtles
We are in our second year of monitoring and tracking Eastern box turtles that live on Zoo grounds in hopes of better understanding this at-risk species and why they are decreasing in number.
2022 was the first full year of operation for our Motus Tower, which is part of the world’s largest collaborative automated radio telemetry project. In November, we hosted the annual Loggerhead Shrike Working Group meeting, a group of professionals from across the continent working to ensure the long-term survival of the loggerhead shrike.
Saving Endangered Species
We actively participate in 50+ Species Survival Plans® and have the honor of working with institutions around the world to help save species vulnerable to extinction.
Since their arrival at the Zoo in 2017, our cotton-top tamarins have had seven successful offspring. Their most recent offspring, Oliver, was born on May 29. Native to Colombia, cotton-top tamarins are one of the smallest monkey species and are considered critically endangered.
Mexican Spider Monkeys
In April, we celebrated the first successful Mexican spider monkey birth at Nashville Zoo and now have five monkeys in our troop, including Dottie. The species is native to the rainforests of Central America and are critically endangered.
Since 2000, the Zoo has worked tirelessly to save clouded leopards. In 2022, we welcomed two clouded leopard cubs in June and participated in four artificial insemination procedures in December.
Keeping History Alive
The Morton Family Exhibit, located in the cabin near the Grassmere Historic Home, opened in 2021 showcasing the importance of the Black tenant farmers’ legacy. This year, the exhibit was awarded Top Honors for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award, as well as five additional awards from notable history organizations.
Best of the Best
This year we racked up a number of accolades from local publications’ “Best Of” polls, and were thrilled to receive recognition for Best Place to Have a Birthday Party, Best Summer Camp, Best Playground, among others.
Nashville Zoo’s conservation efforts can be seen around the globe as we breed critically endangered species, provide financial support and medical supplies, and participate in hands-on work to rehabilitate species.
Puerto Rican Crested Toads
In October, we successfully bred and shipped 4,673 Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles for release into their native habitats! The Puerto Rican crested toad is the only native toad in Puerto Rico and is considered critically endangered. Including this shipment, we’ve sent 18,000+ tadpoles to Puerto Rico in the past ten years.
Cheetah Conservation Fund
In July, a carnivore keeper spent a month at Cheetah Conservation Fund in Somaliland and participated in hands-on conservation work in efforts to help save and protect this species.
Rainforest Awareness Rescue and Education Center (RAREC)
September, two staff members traveled to RAREC’s facility in Peru to provide medical supplies to aid in the care of the numerous animals they rescue and rehabilitate.
Our Little Superstar, Pépite
In April, we welcomed the birth of Pépite - one of the first spotted fanaloka to ever be born in the United States, and his birth announcement was shared around the world! Our four fanaloka are the only known fanaloka to live at an AZA-accredited facility in the US. We are honored to have them here and to help conserve this vulnerable species!
Make a donation to support our work
We thank you for your dedicated support as we continue to help save species and protect the natural world around us.