As you may know, we are home to over 900 animals representing 195 species from around the world. With so many creatures under our care, we have a wealth of knowledge right here at our fingertips that is vital to the conservation of wildlife all over the globe.
Since the Zoo opened 25 years ago, we’ve been contributing data from our own animals to Species360. This nonprofit organization uses a network of more than 1,100 zoos, aquariums and other zoological facilities worldwide to inform wildlife conservation efforts and improve animal wellness. Members of Species360 curate the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), the world’s most comprehensive open database of knowledge on more than 22,000 species.
Over the years, we have submitted data on 3,704 individuals and 364 species! This information is critical to sustaining biodiversity worldwide; in order to predict which species are at risk and how best to grow populations, we have to first know the age at which they reproduce, how many offspring survive to adolescence and how long they live.
The data that we contribute includes individuals’ births; lineage; developmental milestones; abnormal behaviors; medical observations and treatments; reproduction; deaths; and training behaviors. This information is gathered daily by keepers and input by animal registrar Sharon Meola.
It may surprise you how little we know about most species. A paper published last month showed that critical information like fertility and survival rates is missing from global data for more than 98% of known species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Sharing our data through ZIMS is game-changing for those animals as we help fill in the gaps and give insight as to which are in danger of extinction.
We are so happy to be able to contribute to global species knowledge and know that the data that we’re collecting here helps others around the world address today’s most urgent wildlife issues.