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.
To learn more about how you can help please visit our Links page.
Some of the conservation efforts undertaken by the Amarillo Zoo include:
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.