Milwaukee County Zoo Support

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) and the Milwaukee County Zoo are partners in a variety of conservation projects for species managed in captivity, as well as for species in need of greater protection in the wild. ZSM provides important funding and the Milwaukee County Zoo provides the staff expertise and time to conduct beneficial research.

Examples of projects funded:

  • Humboldt Penguin Ecology. This program addresses many areas of the ecology of the Humboldt penguin, one of the few species of penguins that live in South America. The species has been assessed in its natural habitat off the coast of Chile. The program studies the reproductive success of the penguins by monitoring adults, nests and nestlings.

  • Ornate Box Turtle Head-Start Program. The ornate box turtle is highly endangered in the state of Wisconsin. This program evaluates the usefulness of rearing turtle hatchlings in captivity to accelerate growth, then releasing them into the wild. It is hoped that the increased size allowed by captive rearing will reduce predation, thus giving the turtles a survival advantage. Juvenile turtles are fitted with radio transmitters to determine their habitat use and mortality rates.

  • Timber Rattlesnake Habitat Use Study. This study uses radio transmitters to determine the habitat use and life history of the endangered timber rattlesnake population in Wisconsin. This work provides land managers with recommendations to protect the state's population.

In addition to funding conservation research, ZSM sponsors several internship programs. These programs provide students exposure and experience working in a zoo. Sponsored programs include a veterinary internship providing exposure to exotic-animal health care, an enrichment internship to improve the quality of life of the Zoo's animals, and a registrar internship to learn how the records and history of zoo animals are kept.

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