Zoo Conservation

It’s our Mission!

P1090484At Reid Park Zoo – conservation is a part of everything we do, from using solar power to protecting elephants! We believe that our role as a conservation organization starts with our actions at “home” and extends beyond the gates of the Zoo.

Conservation at Reid Park Zoo

Species Survival Plans

Although zoo babies are popular with our guests, the Zoo does not breed animals without thinking about the long-term responsibility. We work closely with other accredited zoos and aquariums around the country to make responsible breeding and animal placement decisions. It’s not just about having great animals in Tucson for you to learn from – it’s about working together to make sure that these species are protected for generations to come.


Some of the Zoo’s animals are part of a program called the Species Survival Plan®, or SSP®. The SSP® was developed by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association to help zoos and aquariums work together to do what’s best for an entire species. The SSP® can determine which animals are good breeding matches, even if those animals are at different zoos. It can also restrict breeding if the captive population gets too large, or encourage breeding if the population gets too small. Even if an animal is not officially part of an SSP®, we still consult with other zoos to determine whether it’s responsible to breed a certain type of animal

“Green” building

lee-h-brown-family-learn-ctrReid Park Zoo strives to be a community leader in “green” construction. We have recently opened the Lee H. Brown Family Conservation Learning Center, which features

  • Solar power panels to produce energy for the building
  • Highly efficient heating and cooling systems
  • Recycled and sustainable construction materials
  • Water harvesting and grey water capture
  • Non-toxic, low fume paints and adhesives
  • Natural day-lighting
  • ….and much more!

We received the prestigious LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This is the first LEED platinum building in Southern Arizona.


Like many people in Tucson, the Zoo participates in the City of Tucson’s blue barrel recycling program. Zoo staff members follow the City’s recycling guidelines when separating recyclable material from other trash.

You can recycle cell phones at the Zoo. Just drop them off at the Zoo’s administration building or the front gate.


The Zoo is involved in an experimental program to compost the waste from our animals. We are working with an outside agency to turn the Zoo’s waste into a cost-effective compost that can be used as fertilizer. Our staff is worm binresponsible for separating animal waste and plant trimmings from other trash.

Education staff members have a worm bin in their office to compost food scraps into rich soil. The worms have become office pets and do a great job of breaking down the food waste with no odor or mess. Everyone should be worm composting – it’s fun!

Reclaimed Water

Let’s face it, the Zoo uses lots of water to keep animal exhibits and night houses clean, and to keep our vegetation lush. In the desert, water is very precious so we use it as responsibly as possible. We use highly treated waste-water, or “reclaimed” water, for many of our cleaning and irrigating needs.