Sacramento Zoological Society
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Organization Details


From camps and school visits to field trips and zoo overnights, the zoo's extensive learning opportunities offer something for everyone! A visit to the zoo is an immersive experience, connecting visitors with wildlife and nature. Educational programs are designed to comply with California Science Standards and incorporate education, recreation, and the unique setting of the zoo. From the over 51,000 schoolchildren that visited the zoo on a field trip to the over 100,000 individuals engaged in a Wildlife Stage Show, Animal Encounter or Keeper Chat, messaging about animals and conservation of species and their habitats continues to be a key component to the visitor experience.
Program Successes
In 2018:
- School and group field trips provided 51,824 children with an educational message during zoo visits.
- Year-round camps taught 877 young children about animals.
- The ZooMobile traveled throughout the region bringing an educational message to 6,080 children and seniors.
- 140 trained docent educators volunteered 17,118 hours of their time to the zoo.
- Keeper chats at animal habitats provided facts and details to 33,180 visitors.
- Wildlife Stage Shows introduced 33,873 visitors to different animal adaptations.
- And 184 talented teens spoke about animal adaptations and volunteered 17,280 hours to speak with the public about the zoo's animals.
The Sacramento Zoo is home to 430 animals representing 123 species. Of that number, 38 species have been listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable. Of the species that are housed at the zoo, 58 are managed cooperatively as part of the zoo's participation in programs of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Animal Care and Conservation includes not only the husbandry of the animals at the Sacramento Zoo, but also the management of captive populations of certain species as well as local and global conservation efforts to preserve species that are in danger of population decline or extinction. As a conservation organization, the Sacramento Zoo is committed to supporting wildlife conservation through financial and in-kind support. In 2018, the Sacramento Zoo contributed more than $165,000 to wildlife conservation. Funds support field conservationists, local population management, working with communities to mitigate their impact on species, and habitat protection and restoration.
Program Successes
- The Sacramento Zoo is home to 430 individual animals representing 123 species.
- Of that number, 38 species are in danger of going extinct (listed as either Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable).
- The Sacramento Zoo contributes significantly to the AZA's (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) efforts to preserve these species by participating in cooperative breeding and management programs.
- In addition, the Sacramento Zoo supports several local and global conservation efforts.
- Each year, the Quarters for Conservation program supports three projects by contributing $0.25 per zoo admission, train, carousel, rock climbing wall, cyclone ride ticket and giraffe encounter, as well as 2% of all membership fees. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the program by voting for one of three projects.
- In 2018, the Sacramento Zoo donated over $165,000 to local and global conservation programs.
- In 2018, the Quarters for Conservation program has supported Belize Manatee Rehabilitation, Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe and locally, restoring Foothill yellow-legged frog populations in the North Fork of the Feather River.
People are the heart of any nonprofit organization, and the Sacramento Zoological Society is no different. Volunteers and staff work tirelessly to care for the animals and continually improve both the facility and the guest experience. Each year, the Sacramento Zoo sees an average of 500,000 visitors come through its gates. This includes daily visitors, Sacramento Zoo members and attendees of the many fundraising events held on zoo grounds.
Program Successes
2018 was an exceptional year of growth and change for the Sacramento Zoo, and I am so pleased to have been a part of it after joining the zoo as Executive Director in January of 2018. My first year in Sacramento was marked by some incredible milestones including the introduction of new species, another record year of attendance and significant births for the Sacramento Zoo.

In 2018, the zoo saw 513,061 visitors during normal visiting hours and at special events such as the sellout Wine & Brew at the Zoo and the ever-popular Ice Cream Safari. For beer lovers, the inaugural Animals on Tap - a series of collaborations between the Sacramento Zoo and local breweries - brought brand-new beers to Sacramento including New Helvetia's Red Panda Red Session IPA, Yolo Brewing Company's Lemur Alone IPA and Sudwerk Brewing Co.'s Original Tall Boy Giraffe Lager. A portion of the proceeds from beer sales went directly to the Sacramento Zoo and conservation programs benefiting the animals featured.

Spring and summer births at the zoo included several Endangered and Critically Endangered species including most notably, the birth of a Critically Endangered snow leopard cub, Coconut. Born on May 6th, Coconut, while healthy, exhibited some health conditions very early on in his life. Diagnosed with "swimmer's syndrome" Coconut's legs splayed outward and he required daily physical therapy from his dedicated team of zookeepers and veterinarians to correct his movement. The zoo's close collaboration with UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine allowed Coconut's care to be monitored by a bevy of specialists, including a veterinary ophthalmologist who was able to correct Coconut's other birth abnormality: eyelid coloboma, which causes a section of the eyelid to be missing and abnormally shaped leading to irritation and damage to the eye surface.

The Sacramento Zoo also welcomed several newcomers from other zoos, including meerkats, a male hawk-headed parrot and two Critically Endangered male okapis. Thanks to a generous partnership with Jiffy Lube, the zoo's meerkats have been delighting visitors since their arrival in November. The meerkats, a mob of five females enjoy their exhibit, complete with a termite mound, on which the sentry will stand guard for the rest of the group. As a participant in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), the Sacramento Zoo works closely with zoos across the country to cooperatively manage species in human care, including the species the zoo acquired in 2018. SSPs cooperatively manage specific populations across multiple zoos and aquariums with the goal of sustaining a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied species well into the future.

Additional changes to the zoo included an expansion of the zoo's playground to make space for an all-new Education Outpost. The playground, a family favorite for children of all ages, was not only relocated but refreshed. Complete with brand-new fencing, additional animal climbing structures, an expanded picnic area, as well as shade structures to help beat the heat; the playground is now larger and more welcoming, allowing families to spend more time in the area, while the addition of the Education Outpost has allowed the zoo to expand education programming for all ages.

Most importantly in 2018, the board alongside zoo leadership looked at the long-term future of the zoo and unanimously voted to pursue relocation of the Sacramento Zoo. Over the past 30 years, many long-time zoo favorites such as tiger, hippopotamus, bear, cheetah, and more have been moved to other zoos due to the lack of proper facilities within the Sacramento Zoo's 14.7-acre Land Park campus. In addition, the zoo faces the dilemma of finding more exhibit space for current species such as chimpanzee, orangutan, and hoofed mammals. Simply stated, there is no room to grow at the zoo's current site. A relocated and expanded Sacramento Zoo would enhance the quality of life for animals by providing new habitats and appropriate social groups for many species. Most important, by relocating the zoo would be better able to serve its mission of conservation by building capacity to further support populations of many rare and endangered species.

The road to relocation will take at least five years. During that time the Sacramento Zoo is committed to enhancing the current zoo location with traveling exhibits and new animals that could be relocated to a new site. We are confident that a new, expanded Sacramento Zoo with the return of iconic animals combined with many longtime zoo favorites would create an incredible educational and cultural destination for the entire region.

We look forward to you joining us on our journey to relocate and expand the Sacramento Zoo.