Conservation and preservation of animals and the natural world are core values of the Zoo’s mission. The Chattanooga Zoo continues to further its mission by promoting local and global conservation projects. The Zoo’s conservation programs have one of the broadest reaches in the Chattanooga area, sharing critical conservation messages with more than 200,000 people annually.

Current Conservation Initiatives

Argentine Jaguar Conservation Project

The Chattanooga Zoo, in partnership with Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, supports important fieldwork and tracking studies of highly endangered jaguars in Argentina.

Hellbender Conservation Program

The Chattanooga Zoo, in partnership with Lee University, is involved in important field research to survey wild populations of Hellbenders, the largest salamander species in the United States. The Zoo is also working to establish a successful breeding program for these rapidly disappearing animals. Hellbenders have never been successfully bred in captivity, and the Chattanooga Zoo has initiated a groundbreaking program to help save these amazing creatures.

Species Survival Plan

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a population management and conservation program for selected endangered species in accredited zoos and aquariums across the United States. The Chattanooga Zoo currently participates in 40 separate SSP programs representing the following species

  • Bali Mynah
  • Black-Crested Mangabey
  • Bushmaster
  • Capybara
  • Chimpanzee
  • Chinese Alligator
  • Cotton-top Tamarin
  • African Crested Porcupine
  • Emperor Tamarin
  • Fennec Fox
  • Forsten’s Tortoise
  • Francois Langur
  • Geoffroy’s Marmoset
  • Golden Lion Tamarin
  • Gray Crowned Crane
  • Jaguar
  • Komodo Dragon
  • Leaf-tailed Gecko
  • Spider Tortoise
  • Meerkat
  • Mexican Lance-headed Rattlesnake
  • Pancake Tortoise
  • Pied Tamarin
  • Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine
  • Puma
  • Radiated Tortoise
  • Red Panda
  • Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizard
  • Rock Hyrax
  • Sand Cat
  • Serval
  • Snow Leopard
  • Black-Handed Spider Monkey
  • Spotted Turtle
  • Sunda Gharial (Tomistoma)
  • White Nosed Coatimundi

SAFE: Saving Animal From Extinction

Through AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction, for the first time, the entire AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium community will focus on conservation science, our wildlife experts and our 180 million visitors on saving species in the wild.

SAFE, AZA and its members will convene scientists and stakeholders to identify the threats, develop action plans, raise new resources and engage the public. AZA SAFE harnesses the collective power of all AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and invites you to join the effort.


American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK)

The American Association of Zoo Keepers is a membership association for animal care professionals to exchange information and network with one another to advance excellence in animal keeping profession. The local Chattanooga AAZK chapter includes animal care professionals from the Chattanooga Zoo and the Tennessee Aquarium working together to raise awareness and education other about the importance of conservation and protecting our natural resources. 


Conservation Partners


The Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG) is a long-time partner of the Zoo. ZCOG works to assist zoological facilities in Latin America. Each year, the Chattanooga Zoo provides a scholarship for a Latin American colleague to attend and present at the Annual AZA Conference.


ECO-CELL is a program that was designed to educate consumers about the dangers that electronics pose to wildlife AND offers them a way to conserve wildlife by recycling them. Coltan, an element that is essential for coating components of cell phones, is mined extensively in the Congo, home to the critically endangered gorilla and chimpanzee. Recycling your old cell phones with us at our ECO-CELL station will help save these species by reducing the demand for Coltan and the destruction of vital habitat.

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Snow Leopard Trust

The Snow Leopard Trust works to protect the endangered snow leopard and its mountain habitat. Since 2006, the Zoo has been an active partner with the trust by hosting lectures, promoting snow leopard conservation, and raising funds for important fieldwork.

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Proyecto Tití

Proyecto Tití works to protect the endangered cotton-top tamarin and its tropical habitat in the forests of Columbia. The primary focus of Proyecto Tití is to educate local communities about the forest environment and the threats the animals who live in the forest face.

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Turtle Survival Alliance

The Turtle Survival Alliance works to ensure that there will be zero turtle extinctions in the 21st century. The organization supports this goal through breeding programs, field research, conservation plans, conservation education, and advocating on behalf of turtles.

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Red Panda Network

The Red Panda Network seeks to save wild red pandas and preserve their natural habitat of mountainous Nepal. Through their international and local approach, the Red Panda Network leads community-based research by educating local citizens and providing them with the necessary training for monitoring the red panda.

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Rainforest Trust

Rainforest Trust helps protect threatened tropical forests and endangered wildlife by partnering with local and community organizations in and around vulnerable areas. Through these highly effective partnerships, we can ensure sustainable results necessary for the long-term protection of tropical ecosystems and the wildlife they hold.

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Global Wildlife Conservation

The Global Wildlife Conservation is a global force for the conservation of wildlife. We work with partners around the world to prevent some of the world’s most threatened species from vanishing forever. Working together, we can all make a difference. So join the movement today.

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