The Conservation Six are our six animal species for which our conservation efforts are most focused on here at Memphis Zoo. Between partnering with multiple organizations and institutions through years of research and hard work, our team in 2023 dedicates a large portion of our mission to protecting and conserving Sumatran tigers, African penguins, Dusky Gopher frogs, Louisiana pine snakes, Grauer's (Eastern Lowland) gorillas, and African elephants. On a mission of Creating Adventures and Saving Wildlife, we focus more specifically on these six due to their particular status of being critically endangered in the wild.
Relentlessly persecuted by poachers and further threatened by widespread habitat destruction. (Learn More)
The Sumatran tiger is one of the most critically endangered large carnivores on the planet.
Less than 750 Sumatran tigers are believed to occur across an island roughly the size of California.
Roar & Pour is an after-hours Memphis Zoo event put on to raise money for Sumatran Tigers.
Fulbright Program (administered by the American Indonesian Exchange Foundation), Leuser International Foundation, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam (BKSDA; Indonesia's Natural Resources Conservation Center), and Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan (KPH; Indonesia's Forest Management Unit).
In collaboration with Indonesia-based partners, the Memphis Zoo is supporting camera-trap surveys to establish baseline tiger population estimates in the Leuser Ecosystem, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site: “Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra.” Future work will involve the training of an additional 6-person ranger team to monitor tiger habitats and mitigate intensifying human-tiger conflict in forest-edge communities.
One project the Memphis Zoo would like to be involved with is supporting a penguin ranger in Namibia. (Learn More).
We have been working with African penguins at the Memphis Zoo since 1986.
The wild population has declined 99% and these penguins are in danger of becoming extinct by 2035.
Love Wild was a series of dinners and brunches at Memphis Zoo in February 2023 put on to raise money for African penguins.
SANCCOB, AZA Penguin SAFE
This also helps by employing a native Namibian, to monitor and help penguin success in region and get injured penguins/chicks to immediate rehabilitation center.
Dusky Gopher Frog
In the past 20 years, the Memphis Zoo and our partners have worked tirelessly to establish captive assurance colonies at our Zoo, refine artificial and natural breeding methods, and release zoo-bred offspring to build a new population in the wild. (Learn More).
The dusky gopher frog is critically endangered and native to the Southeastern US.
Their numbers are only around 250 in the wild, making them vulnerable to extinction.
Splashin for a Cause is an after-hours Memphis Zoo event at Monogram Splash Park to raise money for Dusky Gopher Frogs.
Omaha Zoo, Detroit Zoo, Dallas Zoo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, Army Corps of Engineers
We are now starting to see signs that a new population is taking hold in the wild - which is a huge step forward for the species and a great example of how the Zoo is contributing to our mission of “Saving Animals.”
One of the ways we do this is to conduct research which has led to important contributions to knowledge of the species, including the first published data on its unique reproductive biology and the elevation of the snake to full species status. (Learn More).
The Louisiana pinesnake is the Rarest Snake in North America. Since 1984, the Memphis Zoo has led the zoo component of the effort to save this unique snake from extinction.
Pinesnake Zoo Brew has been an after-hours Memphis Zoo event to raise money for Louisiana pinesnakes. It has featured tons of breweries in one unforgettable night!
U. S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries, Ellen Trout Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, Audubon Zoo
There have also been major breakthroughs in laboratory technologies that enhance its captive reproduction. All of this work goes to support the Memphis Zoo’s apex goal – the establishment of new, self-sustaining wild populations in restored habitat by releasing snakes bred in zoos. In partnership with the work of our partners, we believe we can recover this critically endangered species. To date we have released over 400 Louisiana pinesnakes onto protected habitat, are documenting their excellent acclimation and survival, and have detected the first natural reproductions in this population.
Grauer’s (Eastern Lowland) Gorilla
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF) has spent more than 50 years studying mountain gorillas in Rwanda and helping get the subspecies back from near extinction. (Learn More).
Memphis Zoo has formed a partnership with DFGF to help save this subspecies from extinction. Zoo staff will be traveling to Africa this summer to meet and work with the DFGF team and determine what our partnership will look like long term.
Due to poaching, civil unrest, and habitat destruction, it's estimated that the Grauer's gorilla population has declined by more than 50% in the last 30 years and only about 8,000 remain.
Pancakes for Primates is a Memphis Zoo breakfast event to raise money for Grauer’s (Eastern Lowland) Gorilla.
AZA Gorilla SAFE, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
After getting the mountain gorilla population to a sustainable number they expanded into the Democratic Republic of Congo to focus in Grauer’s (Eastern Lowland) gorillas.
Through the world’s insatiable lust for ivory, combined with dwindling land and resources in range countries due to an ever-increasing human population. (Learn More).
Since 2011, the Memphis Zoo has supported EfA’s conservation efforts in Botswana by providing essential funding and monitoring equipment necessary to continue their crucial work in preserving African elephants from extinction.
The African elephant population has faced a 60% decline over the last 50 years.
Conservation & Cocktails is an after-hours Memphis Zoo event featuring specialty conservation-themed cocktails, delicious hors d’oeuvres, live music, and more! This event along with Art for Elephants and our brand new Picnics for Pachyderms event all three raise money for African elephants.
Elephants for Africa
Conservation & Cocktails
Purchase Tickets Now - Members
Purchase Tickets Now - Non-members
The Memphis Zoo has been a dedicated contributor to African elephant conservation through our long-standing partnership with the charity Elephants for Africa (EfA). One of EfA’s primary focuses is understanding the needs of elephants, as well as local communities, to better promote human-elephant co-existence. They work to monitor the elephant population in and around the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Tracking the number of elephants, as well as their usage of the environment and their travel patterns, allows them to better facilitate the local communities and empower them to strive for co-existence. Through EfA’s educational outreach workshops, they are able to teach mitigation practices, which ultimately leads to a decrease in the negative impact elephants have on rural communities.