Field and Research Projects

Our employees are applying their skills and knowledge while participating in hands-on projects that are saving wildlife at home and around the world.
an african elephant standing in a field

African Elephant Reproductive Conservation Initiative

Headed by Dr. Kirk Suedmeyer, DVM Dipl ACZM, Director of Animal Health, and Elephant Research Physiologist Kari Morfeld, PhD, The Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium has initiated a national project to review the current reproductive health of all older African elephants held in zoos.

closeup of a rhinoceros head in profile as it eats sunburnt grass

Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Initiative

This all-female anti-poaching unit is based out of Balule Nature Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Elephant family in field

Conservation Lower Zambezi Project

The Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium supports the operations of one Luangwa anti-poaching team, which includes providing food rations, communications, First Aid kits, patrol equipment, transport, and a 24/7 Control Center which monitors patrol teams on difficult or dangerous patrols.

The back of a black and white Eastern Spotted Skunk

Eastern Spotted Skunk Distribution and Relative Abundance Assessment

The Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium is participating in the first documented health assessment and disease ecology study of the Eastern spotted skunk, a species in decline throughout the Midwest.

Florida Manta Project

In 2016, Jessica Pate started the Florida Manta Project to study the biology and ecology of manta rays in South Florida. This is the first dedicated study of manta rays in the continental U.S. and has even discovered a potential rare nursery habitat!

Freshwater mussels, some open and some closed, lie in shallow water

Fresh Water Mussel Propagation and Reintroduction Program

Freshwater mussels are disappearing at an alarming rate throughout North America, where scientists consider over 70 percent of all mussel species to be imperiled. Nearly half of Missouri’s mussels are species of conservation concern.

closeup of the head of an East African crowned crane with majestic crown of gold feathers

Grey Crowned Crane Marsh Project in East Africa

The Grey Crowned Crane Marsh Project championed by Senior Animal Care specialist, Ben Klopf, highlights the majestic crane found in eastern and southern Africa.

closeup of a humboldt penguin with other penguins in the background

Humboldt Penguin Conservation and Research Program

The Humboldt Penguin Consortium helps to not only keep this population of birds safe at the Punta San Juan location, but also helps to monitor the populations from year to year.

closeup of a humboldt penguin with other penguins in the background

Humboldt Penguin Consortium

Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium has joined forces with the St. Louis Zoo and the Brookfield Zoo to carry on the very important Penguin Census and the teaching the sustainable harvesting of guano practices.

closeup of two California sea lions facing each other

Marine Mammal and Pinniped Rescue Project

The Marine Mammal and Pinniped Rescue project helps to support the conservation of wild populations of marine mammals, including California Sea lions, through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

closeup of a bright orange and yellow monarch butterfly against a blue sky

Monarch Butterfly Project

The Monarch Butterfly project aims to promote a sustainable cooperation with local species of flora and fauna.

closeup of the bright yellow Panamanian golden frog

Panamanian Golden Frog Breeding Program

With the current amphibian extinction crisis sweeping the planet, arguably no other group of animals stands more to gain from zoo conservation than amphibians -- thus the implementation of the Panamanian Golden Frog Breeding Program.

a polar bear laying on a rock with its eyes closed

Polar Bear Arctic Ambassador Program and Research Project

Through this partnership, we support Polar Bears International and its efforts to learn about bears in the wild and to teach the rest of the world about the effects of climate change.

Polar Bear International Isotope Study

This study exploits new methods but it is hoped that the results will explore how climate change affects foraging success and movement patterns of polar bears, and may provide insight into the decline in polar bear body condition associated with demographic changes and the documented population decline.

Saving North American Songbird Program

The Saving North American Songbird Program addresses several of the many challenges facing North America's songbird population.

Tapanuli Orangutan closeup photo in grass

The CREATE Project – Corridor Restoration For Animals Threatened and Endangered

A social enterprise focusing on improving wildlife habitat and captive welfare, the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium has initiated a long-term habitat restoration project in the Kinabatangan rainforest of Borneo.

closeup of a trumpeter swan

Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project

The Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium’s Waters Edge Team cares for and has successfully breed Trumpeter Swans over the past several years.

closeup of a Wyoming toad and all its warts

Wyoming Toad Captive Breeding, Reintroduction, and Field Survey Program

Zoo continues the efforts of the Wyoming Toad Species Survival Program (SSP) that have been underway for several years onsite and in the field to increase their population.

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