Endangered Species

We continue the fight against extinction through species reintroduction, conservation breeding, research and technological development.



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 111 Species Survival Plans, from tiny invertebrates to big cats.

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 endangered and threatened species are given a head start at Woodland Park Zoo. Western pond turtle  eggs are collected from Washington wetlands, then hatched and raised at the zoo. When the turtles are large enough to avoid the mouths of predators, zoo scientists return them to protected wetlands. There the turtles have been surviving for generations to rebuild Washington's endangered populations. Oregon silverspot butterflies are similarly given a head start under the care of zookeepers and teen volunteers at the zoo before wild release to rebuild Northwest populations.



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.

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |   zooinfo@zoo.org

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification