Animal Care and Conservation: The Zoo's Mission
A Modern Zoo
One of the world's great zoos, Zoo Miami houses more than 1,200 wild animals in a cageless setting that closely approximates the animals' natural habitats and allows them to roam freely on their individual island. Large, open-air exhibits allow visitors to enjoy beautiful and endangered wildlife at a safe yet remarkably close range, while the animal remains free of tight enclosures. With nearly 300 developed acres on a 740-acre parcel of land, Zoo Miami is the only zoo in the continental United States located in a subtropical climate. This climactic advantage and our large, natural exhibits enable the Zoo to establish successful breeding programs with animals that cannot easily be exhibited in colder climates.
In the wild, our commitment to worldwide conservation efforts serves as one of our mission's cornerstones to encourage an appreciation for the world's wildlife and to help conserve it for future generations. The Zoo forms critical partnerships with other scientists, conservationists such as World Wildlife Fund
and governmental and non-governmental organizations to help save the endangered plants, animals and ecosystems of the world. From significant research and special studies conducted in South Florida to field conservation efforts in some of the most remote and exotic places on Earth, Zoo Miami, a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA)
, is recognized as a leader in the fight to preserve some of the world's most endangered animals and ecosystems.
Accreditation by the AZA involves rigorous inspection and reviews to insure the highest standards in collections care, veterinary programs, breeding programs, conservation, education and safety, among other criteria. Zoo Miami was re-accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) in March 2005 for another five years, until 2010. AZA accreditation is recognized as the benchmark for the finest animal care institutions in North America and Zoo Miami is the only animal attraction in Miami-Dade county to hold this accreditation. We encourage you to look for the AZA accreditation symbol when you decide to visit zoos or attractions that house animals.
Policies regarding animal care at the zoo are written by experts in the field who study animal science. These policies consider the animal's well-being and conservation efforts foremost, regardless of age or 'marketability' . The Zoo's animals and their offspring are only sent to AZA member facilities when the facility has either been visited by us personally or has references from another AZA institution, and has signed our policy statement acknowledging their responsibility in long term care for the animal. Most often, these transfers are because of a demonstrated need and compatibility for breeding suitability between two members of a species or to work with other qualified institutions to assist conservation programs at both locations. This has been Zoo Miami's policy for many years and it is continuously reviewed and approved by exotic animal professionals. Animals owned by Zoo Miami are not conveyed to auctions, hunting ranches or facilities with poor care. To learn, please feel free to download the animal Acquisition and De-Acquisition policy below.