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How the Zoo helps with conservation

Thursday, June 20, 2024

How the Zoo helps with conservation

The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens isn’t just a place where people of all ages can come and get up close with all kinds of animals ­– we are also committed to wildlife conservation. As part of the Zoo’s mission to inspire people to take action for wildlife, our team plays an important role in protecting threatened and endangered species.

Sanford Zoo is even accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), which means we actively contribute to industry initiatives aimed at preserving and maintaining the health of various species. Check out a few of the ways we live out our conservation mission below.

Eastern Indigo Snake Conservation Program

The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC) is operated by the Central Florida Zoo and is the only captive breeding program for the eastern indigo snake with the sole focus on releasing offspring into areas where the species has been eradicated. The eastern indigo snake is essential to a functioning and balanced ecosystem. Through the OCIC’s research and breeding efforts, snakes hatched under the team’s care are reintroduced back to their natural habitats and regions where populations have disappeared. To do this, the OCIC breeds and hatches the snakes at its facility. It also has outdoor habitats that simulate the native gopher tortoise burrows the snakes rely on, allowing them to thermoregulate, which is key to their success. To date, a total of 167 eastern indigo snakes have been successfully reintroduced in northern Florida. To learn more about the annual eastern indigo snake release, click here.

Striped Newt Conservation Program

The OCIC also operates the Striped Newt Conservation Program. The striped newt is a part of the salamander species found in northern Florida and southern Georgia. Over the past two decades, the striped newt population has faced a severe decline due to habitat loss and other factors. In response, the Apalachicola National Forest initiated a project aimed at restoring the striped newt population to its original status with the support of zoos and organizations like the OCIC. Since then, our collaborative efforts reintroduced over 3,300 newts back into their natural habitats.

Conservation Days at the Zoo

Conservations Days at the Zoo are fun and educational ways to get involved in our conservation efforts. Throughout the year, we offer several special days filled with fun activities and keeper talks to celebrate conservation efforts. These events are perfect for families and animal enthusiasts looking for things to do in Sanford to learn about how they can make a difference for these incredible animals. Two upcoming conservation days to look forward to are Celebrate Pollinators on June 22 and World Rhino Day on September 21. For more information on all of the Zoo’s Conservation Days, click here.

These are just a few ways the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is working to make a positive impact on our environment and while inspiring others to do the same. For more examples of how the Central Florida Zoo contributes to animal conservation, click here.

By empowering and educating guests on appreciating our natural resources, our Florida Zoo also commits to contribute globally to the preservation and conservation of wildlife. Click here to plan your visit to the one of the best Zoo in Florida and learn how you too can help animal conservations. Let’s all make an impact together and spread the word about conservation.

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