Committed to Conservation
Not only is the Zoo a fun destination to see amazing animals, but it's also a place to learn about the different ways to save wildlife and habitats around the world and in your own backyard. The Amarillo Zoo strives to support and promote local and global conservation efforts. We offer a wide variety of events, programs and projects that share and instill a strong sense of environmental stewardship to more than 150,000 people annually. By educating individuals we can provide an emotional connection to wildlife and engage them in conservation initiatives.
The Zoo will continue to be a regional leader in both local and global conservation efforts and practices.
Black-footed Ferret Conservation
The Amarillo Zoo is just one of a handful of zoos across the country permitted to display the critically endangered black-footed ferret. Although they once ranged across the Great Plains of North America, black-footed ferrets were at one point considered extinct. Through conservation and captive breeding efforts, the ferret is making a slow come-back. The Amarillo Zoo in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides both on and off-site education on the black-footed ferret and the benefits of the prairie ecosystem.
The Zoo is a certified Monarch Waystation. This means that we provide all of the basic resources necessary for monarchs to thrive, including milkweed, shelter, and nectar sources. By planting butterfly-friendly shrubs and flowers you can encourage a wide variety of wildlife to call your yard home, including butterflies, birds, reptiles, and more.
Rain is vital to the survival of the planet and it can be a great tool to help supplement water usage in the garden. At the Zoo we have a total of six rain barrels around the Herpetarium. With an inch of rain, all six barrels are filled to the brim (that's about 350 gallons!). Rainwater harvesting is a great way to go green in your home garden as well and rain barrels can be a simple weekend project. For easy-to-follow DIY instructions, head over to Better Homes & Gardens.
Purple Martins at the Zoo
If you've been to the Zoo in the past couple of years, you might have noticed our Purple Martin towers located between our bison and mustang yard. We are very excited to report that as of June 19, we have over 37 eggs and 70 fledglings in our nest boxes! Purple martins, which are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, are the largest swallow in North America. Known as aerial insectivores, meaning they feed on airborne insects, they typically set up nesting sites near wetlands where large groups of insects breed. This works in the Zoo's favor considering we are located near several lakes in Thompson Park! Since purple martins rely heavily on man-made housing and are geographically loyal, the zoo makes sure they have consistent nesting sites to help increase their population. After arriving in the summer months to breed and raise their young, the purple martins will soon leave to migrate back to South America for the winter. Local biologist Jim Ray comes several times during the summer months to tag our martins to aid in his research.
Amarillo Zoo’s American Kestrel Nest Box Partnership Program
Amarillo Zoo has joined other zoos and conservation organizations around the county to provide nesting boxes to land owners to help slow the decline of the American Kestrel.
What is the American Kestrel?
- The American Kestrel is a small species of falcon often seen around open prairie and agricultural lands.
- They are known for their ability to hover above the grasslands to watch for their prey.
- Kestrels prey consists of mice, small birds, mice and lizards.
Why is it important to help the American Kestrel?
- The Kestrel depends on dead tree cavities to nest and raise their young. Due to the loss of habitat, use of pesticides and competition from the European Starling for nest sites we’ve seen close to a 45% decline on the kestrel’s population nationwide.
How can I to get involved?
- The Amarillo Zoo is seeking property owners (it can be an individual, school, business or organization) who are willing to erect and monitor a kestrel nest box on their property.
- Interested individuals or groups must submit an application along with a digital photo of the property. The Zoo staff will review all applications to determine the suitability of the site. Follow up questions via phone call or an on-site visit may also occur.
- Applications and more information can be found on the Amarillo Zoo’s website at www.amarillozoo.org/conservation
Are there any requirements?
- Sites must be located in the Texas Panhandle
- Property must be in a rural area – open grasslands or agricultural.
- Nest boxes need to be mounted 10-30’ high either on a pole or side of building.
- Nest boxes must be monitored by the land owner for any nesting activity.
- You must submit a short quarterly email report to the Amarillo Zoo stating any observed nesting activity.
What happens once I am selected?
- Recipients of the kestrel nest box are asked to monitor their next box and report any nesting activity. Reporting forms will be supplied by the Zoo and can be submitted via email.
What happens if I no longer wish to participate in the program?
- If you elect to discontinue your involvement we ask that you return the Kestrel nest box to the Zoo so we may place it at a new location.
What if I have questions or problems?
- The Amarillo Zoo will provide you a booklet when you are selected that will help answer your questions. But, if you encounter a problem or situation that is not covered you can either call or email us and we’ll be happy to assist.
I have more questions - is there someone I can contact?
- Yes, feel free to call 806-381-7911 or email [email protected]