Conservation: What We're Doing

Conservation: What We're Doing

Conservation and environmental stewardship are at the core of our mission here at Roger Williams Park Zoo.  We work to promote wildlife and habitat conservation through hands-on conservation projects on Zoo grounds and around the world, as well as through partnerships and collaborations with other environmental organizations.  The Zoo has been the recipient of numerous awards for conservation work done both locally and around the globe, and we maintain a reputation as a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of our size.

The SSP program is a cooperative effort to save endangered species around the world.

Species Survival Plan Program

One of our most powerful tools in combating extinction is the Species Survival Plan Program (SSPP). The Association of Zoos and Aquariums established this program 1981 as a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species at North American zoos and aquariums.

Find out more & see our SSP animals

American Burying Beetle Recovery

Roger Williams Park Zoo is striving to bring the critically endangered American Burying Beetle, an important invertebrate known as "nature's recycler," back from the brink of extinction.  The program was recognized by AZA as one of the top ten conservation success stories of 2006 and has been the recipient of AZA’s North American Conservation Award (2000) and an Edward H. Bean Award (2006).  Roger Williams Park Zoo also serves as the AZA's national headquarters for this beetle's Species Survival Plan.

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FrogWatch USA

As a participant in the national FrogWatch USA program, the Zoo trains volunteer “citizen scientists” to participate in annual frog monitoring across Rhode Island in an effort to document and conserve these potentially threatened species.

Find out more & get involved

Elephant Conservation

Roger Williams Park Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of these majestic land giants. We strive to aid conservation efforts through public outreach and our contributions to research in the U.S., and by funding elephant conservation projects worldwide.

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NE Cottontail Rabbit Recovery

We are supporting a federal and multi-state initiative to restore the New England cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus transitionalis) back to its historic range. RWP Zoo is providing facilities, supplies, husbandry, and expertise to maintain and reproduce a genetically diverse captive population of NECT rabbits for reintroduction into select sites in the New England area.

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Timber Rattlesnake Recovery Program

The timber rattlesnake (C. horridus)  is seriously threatened in all of NE and completely extirpated from some areas.  In addition, certain individuals of the species are being affected by a fungal disease that is of serious concern.  Roger Williams Park Zoo staff members are participating in a collaborative regional effort to study and address these concerns.

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Karner Blue Butterfly Conservation

RWPZ has been working with the state of New Hampshire to restore critical habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The Zoo grows host and nectar plants, takes part in habitat restoration activities as well as captive-rearing Karner blue butterflies for reintroduction. This program received a significant achievement award for North American Conservation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2010.

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Being Green at the Zoo

In addition to fostering awareness of the importance of conservation and environment-friendly behaviors, we strive to use best practices in our everyday operations at the Zoo.

See what we do to stay green

Funded Projects

RWP Zoo provides financial support to conservation efforts around the world to help rebuild habitats and teach humans how to coexist with their wild neighbors. Tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea, butterfly conservation efforts in North America, and biologists working around the world to preserve and protect wildlife and habitats all receive financial support from our conservation program.

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Bio-Blitz

Founded by the RI Natural History Survey in 1999, Bio-Blitz is a 24-hour event that provides an important snapshot of biodiversity in Rhode Island. As a partnering organization, Roger Williams Park Zoo provides annual financial support, training, public awareness efforts, and staffing for the event.

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Panama Amphibian Conservation

The global frog extinction crisis is one of the most important conservation challenges ever faced by the Zoo and Aquarium community. Never in documented history has an entire species faced such rapid extinction. We are taking part in important efforts to save these threatened amphibian species at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama by providing vital expertise and assistance in rearing invertebrate colonies to supply a sustainable food source for rescued amphibians.

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Polar Bears International

Roger Williams Park Zoo is an Arctic Ambassador Center for Polar Bears International (PBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat though research and education. 

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