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Animal Conservation at the Zoo

How Do Zoos Protect Endangered Species?

Zoos don’t just showcase the diversity of the animal kingdom, but also strive to preserve rare species and support conservation programs all across the world.

Even if the wild is the best place for animals to be: without zoos, some species would no longer exist. Like the golden lion tamarin, the European bison and the Przewalski's horse. They were only saved from extinction because their numbers were increased in zoos through special breeding programs. In 1970, there were only 200 golden lion tamarins left in the wild. Today, there are over 1,000 animals. In 1927, there were only 12 European bison all living in captivity. Thanks to breeding and reintroduction, there are now 3,000 animals in the wild. A great success!

We can’t possibly name all the animal conservation projects in the the world here as, thankfully (!), we’d run out of space. But we do want to tell you about a couple of examples:


Lion Tamarin Lion Tamarin - Photo: Eric Gevaert/Shutterstock

Leipzig Zoo Saves the Amur Leopard

The natural and environmental protection organization WWF works together with Leipzig Zoo to save the snow leopard and the Amur leopard from extinction. The zoo supports countless other projects all across the globe e.g. a monkey rescue station in Vietnam, a breeding station for the Sabah rhino on Borneo and a breeding station for the American bullfrog in Chile. The zoo also supports reintroduction projects, where endangered native species are bred and finally released back in the wild e.g. the little owl and the Przewalski's horse.

Amur Leopard Amur Leopard - Photo: Dmitri Gomon/Shutterstock

Cologne Zoo Protects the Amur Tiger

The Cologne Zoo and the WWF have a joint project. They want to protect the habitat of the highly endangered Amur tiger. Cologne Zoo also works towards the protection of native animals with the NABU (conservation association) in North-Rhine Westphalia. It also supports projects worldwide to protect animals such as gorillas, okapis, hippos and spectacled bears.

Berlin Zoo Helps Sumatran Orangutans

The gentle, orange apes of Indonesian Sumatra (and Borneo) are on the red endangered list of critically endangered animals, as they are at risk of extinction. The zoo in Berlin is working towards resettling orangutans previously kept in captivity. Bonobos and okapis in the Congo (Africa) are also endangered. The zoo supports projects that protect the animals’ habitat and help the animals stay safe from poachers.


Many other zoos, animal parks and wildlife parks are coming through for animals. Like the Tiergarten animal park in Nuremberg, the Tierpark Hellabrunn animal park in Munich and the Tierpark Hagenbeck animal park - to name just a few. And we hope even more will get involved.

Orangutan Orangutan - Photo: Matej Hudovernik/Shutterstock

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