Support Conservation and Research

Conservation rests at the heart of the North Carolina Zoo's missions and management. At home, the Zoo minimizes the waste it produces and the resources it consumes. Around the world, the Zoo puts staff into the field to help lead, establish, and manage anti-poaching programs and to conduct research that helps local people protect wildlife and nature. These good works depend almost entirely on donations from private individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies.

General Field Research Program

The Zoo's animal, conservation and research, and veterinary staffs engage in conservation programs that operate in North Carolina and around the world. These programs conduct research, work with local communities, and empower local conservation biologists to establish viable conservation programming for imperiled plants and animals.These programs help establish and evaluate conservation efforts that are proving beneficial to vultures, lions, gorillas, elephants, hellbenders, turtles, and other animals. Please use the form below to make a general donation in support of the Zoo's field research programs.

Conservation Medicine

Donations to the Zoo Society fully fund the Veterinary Staff’s Conservation Medicine Program, which carries out research, provides training and purchases equipment related to the medical needs of rare and endangered species. For example, this program monitors the health of wild snakes found on the Zoo's grounds, surveys amphibian populations for disease, and studies the pharmacokinetics of white rhinos. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's conservation medicine program.

African Elephants

The North Carolina Zoo entered Africa more than two decades ago to protect elephants in Cameroon and Nigeria. This program assists anti-poaching patrols and conservation planners by providing surveillance data, veterinary assistance, and equipment that help rangers capture poachers and communities avoid conflicts with elephants who leave protected areas. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's elephant conservation program.

Box Turtles

The Zoo Society cooperates with the Box Turtle Conservation Workshop Committee to support the Lucille R. Stickel Box Turtle Research Award. Donated funds support research that contributes to the survival of wild box turtles, and in doing so continues the life's work of Lucille Stickel, a biologist who died in 2007. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's box turtle conservation program.

Hellbenders

Hellbenders are large salamanders that bear the affectionate nickname “snot otters." The name alludes to a slimy mucus that coats their skin. Like other amphibians, many hellbender populations are experiencing steep declines, with some populations falling by 77 percent or more. John Groves, the NC Zoo's former Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles is a leading authority on Hellbenders and has partnered with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to study and protect the Appalachian Hellbenders population. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's Hellbender conservation program.

Cross River Gorillas

The Cross River Gorilla is Africa's rarest and most poorly understood gorilla. Its population has fallen to about 250. The Zoo's Curator of Conservation and Education, Dr. Rich Bergl, leads internationals efforts to save this ape from extinction. His research monitors the remaining group and supports anti-poaching patrols throughout its range. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's Cross River Gorilla conservation program.

Red Wolves

The North Carolina Zoo maintains an off-exhibit breeding program for the Red Wolf, North America’s most endangered canid. The Red Wolf's total population shrank to fewer than 20 before zoo-based breeding programs saved it from extinction. Today, more than 150 Red Wolves—roam free in eastern North Carolina—all of the them descendents of this breeding program. Your donation can help keep this species alive. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's red wolf conservation program.

Polar Bears

In partnership with Polar Bears International, the North Carolina Zoo is working to protect the Arctic from Global Climate Change by engaging in a variety of initiatives to both reduce its carbon footprint and to educate the public about ways individuals can work with us and with other organizations to protect air quality and the environment. The Zoo supports Polar Bears International's efforts to conduct research that looks for ways to protect the Arctic environment and wild Polar Bears. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's Polar Bear conservation programs.

Gopher Frogs

North Carolina's Gopher Frogs live only in longleaf pine habitats in the Sandhills and the southeastern coastal plain. They breed during the winter months in ephemeral wetlands—places that are completely dry most of the year but are fed by cold rains and snowmelt during the winter.

Historically, more than 30 populations of Gopher Frog populations existed in the state, but for reasons that are not understood, only six known breeding populations exist today. To offset the decline, the Zoo has partnered with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to try to restore the native population by collecting Gopher Frog eggs and protecting them until they hatch into froglets. When they do, they are weighed, measured, and given a unique identifier before we release them into the ponds where we collected their eggs. Our goal is to protect them from predation during their most vulnerable egg and tadpole stages—and to protect the native population's genetic diversity by boosting its survival rate. In 2017, we released more than 150 Carolina Gopher Frogs. Please use the form below to make a donation in support of the Zoo's Gopher Frog program.

Anti-Poaching Programs

At times, foreign conservation and wildlife protection agencies call on the Zoo's Research and Conservation staffs to train and equip rangers and other biologists working in the field to protect wildlife. Zoo staff responds by providing workshops, anti-poaching hardware and software, and sometimes uniforms to these wildlife heroes. Please use the form below to make a general donation in support of the Zoo's anti-poaching programs.