ZT Saves • Wildlife Conservation
ZT Saves: Florida Wildlife
We are a leader in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Florida species. From majestic manatees and critically endangered Florida panthers to iridescent indigo snakes and playful otters, our team is at the fore front of helping the diverse species that call the sunshine state home.
Florida Panther Conservation
We are one of top facilities in the world for the rehabilitation of endangered Florida panthers, and are home to three panthers that are unable to survive on their own in the wild due to permanent injuries. These panthers are given one more chance to live a healthy and long life in our care and be ambassadors for their species.
This threatened species has been at the heart of our commitment to the conservation of Florida wildlife for more than 20 years. At our state-of-the-art David A Straz, Jr. Manatee Care Center, the manatee animal care and veterinary teams have rescued and rehabilitated more than 500 injured, sick and orphaned manatees, with more than 280 of those reintroduced into Florida waters.
Eastern Indigo Snake Conservation
ZT Saves Eastern Indigo Snakes
We have been part of a 10 year-repopulation program to help bring back Indigo Snakes—a species that at one time had not been seen in its native territory in over 40 years! Through partnerships with the Central Florida Zoo’s Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we're working to successfully raise and release Eastern Indigo snakes in north Florida. These successes benefit multiple native species, enhancing and preserving the delicate balance that allows wildlife to flourish!
More Florida Species
Florida Wildlife Conservation
The state of Florida is home to a wide variety of exotic animals - including 760 species that exist nowhere else in the world. At our Zoo, animal and environmental conservation are the cornerstones of our mission, providing knowledge so everyone we touch is motivated to join us in taking action to protect and preserve wildlife in their backyards. From black bears to otters and alligators to owls, we are at the forefront of saving and caring for numerous Florida species.
ZT Saves: Species Survival Programs
As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, we participate in 103 Species Survival Programs which help in the long-term sustainability of vulnerable, threatened and endangered species. From majestic rhinos to playful orangutans, our participation in this key program helps change the future.
This critically endangered species has seen a population decline of more than 50% during the last 60 years largely due to deforestation by the palm oil industry. We are home to three generations of orangutans, which are part of AZA’s Species Survival Plan.
African Painted Dogs are found in deserts, forests, and grasslands throughout Africa, however their population is so small, they have no singular range. We are home to a pack of eight critically endangered African painted dogs, each an important member of the Species Survival Program.
There are five species of rhinoceros in the world and each plays a unique role in their environment and the larger ecosystem as a whole. We care for two of these amazing species – the Southern white rhino and the Greater one-horned rhino. Commonly known as an Indian rhino, these gentle giants are a rare, endangered species. Unlike Southern white rhinos, the Indian rhino is one of just two species of rhino that only has one horn and their skin looks like armor making them truly unique! Through our participation in AZA’s Species Survival Program we have had seven white rhino and four greater one-horned rhino offsprings.
More Species Survival Programs
We participate in 103 Species Survival Programs which include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. The program, which is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, oversees the population of select threatened and endangered species within AZA member organizations. The SSP has had widespread success in ensuring that, should a species population become functionally extinct in its natural habitat, a viable population still exists within a zoological setting species reintroduction programs.
SAFE species are at risk of extinction and need our help. Below are the AZA SAFE species that we care for at ZooTampa.
- African Penguin
- Asian Hornbill
- American Red Wolf
- American Turtle
- Bornean Orangutan
- Eastern Indigo Snake
ZT Saves: Worldwide Conservation
Saving species in today’s world takes vision, innovation and — most importantly — collaboration. We are committed to creating strong and successful partnerships with conservation organizations and field programs positioned at the forefront of species survival.
African Elephant Conservation
In 2003, we partnered with The San Diego Wild Animal Park to rescue a group of 11 African elephants. At that time, their home park in Swaziland was not able to sustain the number of elephants that lived there. When too many of any one species live in one place, they can break down the ecosystem – and all the plants and animals that live there can suffer. Along with our partners, we transported the elephants to San Diego and Tampa. This helped the remaining elephants by freeing up natural resources. And, by increasing the gene pool among elephants in managed-care, we are making a difference and contributing to saving these majestic animals!
We have supported okapi conservation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for over 10 years as a partner of the Okapi Conservation Project (OCP). The Okapi Conservation Project has a long history of engaging the local communities, living in and around the Ituri Forest, to conserve and protect the remaining okapi and their habitat. Our Zoo is home to one endangered okapi.
African Penguin Conservation
There are 18 species of penguins in the world, with 5 being warm weather species. That means that almost 1/3 of penguin species spend their time in warm weather, similar to Florida, instead of the chilly Antarctic. African penguins are critically endangered in their native home of South Africa. Over fishing and pollution are the two main causes for the penguin population declining. Plastic pollution plays an even larger role in the plight of penguins. We are home to a colony of penguins who have love being out in the sun and swimming around in the water.
More Global Conservation Efforts
We are committed to creating strong and successful partnerships with conservation organizations that are engaged in field initiatives to protect species and their natural habitats.
Learn more about the partners we are proud to support:
You Can Make a Difference
Each ONE of us can make a difference in the preservation of the ONE world we share. We encourage you to be a conservation leader in your home, community, and around the world! Small actions you take can make a huge impact on protecting and preserving wildlife and wild places. Consider making a donation to ZooTampa. Your support helps provide crucial support for our animal care, education programs and wildlife conservation efforts.