Philosophy and Vision

Our vision for the future is to become an effective and internationally recognized leader in the field of conservation biology.

Regionally, we see our institution staged to become the leader in environmental science education and having a significant impact on local wildlife issues and natural resource conservation. Globally, our goal is to provide conservation training, capacity building and technical assistance to wildlife and eco-regions that we manage in our collection.

Together, our staff will create one of the top U.S. zoological research, conservation and education facilities, while providing a professional and entertaining experience for our visitors.

Our Values

The Memphis Zoo staff share the following common values:

  • The biodiversity of ALL flora and fauna have value and as a zoological and botanical garden we have a responsibility to support their preservation
  • The destruction, degradation or loss of functional ecosystems and the species that occupy them is unacceptable
  • Conservation education performs a critical role in explaining to our audience how the natural world operates and how human activities can both positively and negatively affect species and their habitats
  • Research and science should inform management and policy regarding conservation of ecosystems or species
  • Maintaining the genetic diversity and sustainability of our animal collection for potential future reintroductions is necessary as a hedge against extinction. Click here to learn more about the IUCN Red List of "Amazing Species."
  • The composition and management programs for our living collection must be planned wisely to maximize our impact on global biodiversity preservation.


Excellence in Biodiversity Conservation & Education

Education and Conservation make up the core mission statement for our institution. The Memphis Zoo recognizes the importance of these two functions working closely together to create in our visitors a heightened appreciation for nature, increased scientific literacy, inspiring future generations of environmental stewards and being a positive force for change. We hold that, through conservation research, a greater understanding of ecological processes and the planet’s biodiversity will occur leading to more effective management of our natural resources and remaining wildlife. The science and education needed to manage biodiversity at the local, regional and global scales requires clear, understandable and widely distributed information to the public, policy makers, conservation organizations and stakeholders. To accomplish this directive, the Memphis Zoo is committed to assume a leading role in biodiversity conservation and be globally recognized and actively sought for our expertise on key conservation issues at regional, national and international levels.

Strategic goals encompass four program areas:

  1. Research and Discovery
  2. Applied Conservation
  3. Training the Current and Next Generation
  4. Educate and Inspire the Public

Beginning in 2008, these four program areas have served as guideposts for the zoo’s five year strategic plan for conservation, research and education.


IUCN Amazing Species

To increase awareness of the enormous variety of life on our planet, and raise the profile of threatened species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has launched the Red List "Amazing Species.". Throughout 2011-2012, a different "amazing" species will be regularly featured on the IUCN website with information on the threats it faces and any conservation action being taken. The species selected represent the entire range of taxonomic groups and cover all regions. Both charismatic and obscure species will be featured, providing an insight into the astonishing level of biodiversity that exists. Please visit