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Zoos are responding to species decline and are leading the way in preserving animal populations. Conservation breeding of threatened and endangered animals is conducted through Species Survival Plans (SSP), cooperative breeding programs coordinated through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Woodland Park Zoo participates in 72 Species Survival Plans, from tiny invertebrates to big cats.

See a list of endangered species at the zoo

Led by experts in husbandry, nutrition, veterinary care, behavior, conservation and genetics, AZA-accredited institutions manage each species as one population in North America to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the population and the health of individual animals. SSPs also involve a variety of other collaborative conservation activities such as research, public education,  planned reintroduction and field projects.


Species Reintroduction

Some species are reared at the zoo for release back into protected wild habitats, including the western pond turtle, Oregon spotted frog and Oregon silverspot butterfly



Accredited zoos today play an irreplaceable role in the species survival equation. Scientific research being conducted in zoos on species’ health, social behavior and reproduction are major contributions to the knowledge base on which field conservation relies. In fact, many successful conservation technologies used in the wild have been developed in partnership with zoos, as have advances in wildlife medicine. These approaches integrate the best of zoo- and field-based skills and practices.

Snow Leopard Trust tests the effectiveness of different scents in attracting snow leopards to field camera sites at Woodland Park Zoo before bringing the technique to the wild.