Accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) means that Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo meets the highest standards of animal care. Most of our animals live outdoors year-round in naturalistic exhibits because they are native to Florida or parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, and Central and South America that have climates similar to ours.
The Zoo takes part in almost 100 Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs with other AZA members. These SSP programs are breeding and conservation efforts that have a goal of improving species survival rates. Some animals that are bred at zoos and aquariums are released into the wild to increase their population. These SSPs have been very successful with bird, reptile, and amphibian species.
Zoos and other conservation organizations are collaborating on conservation initiatives more than ever before, because of the alarming rate of species extinction. We take excellent care of animals here at the Zoo and we work with conservation partners around the world to preserve animals in the wild. As an example, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rescues sick, injured and orphaned manatees found in the wild and transports them to the Zoo’s David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center for treatment by our veterinary and animal care staff. When our patients have recovered, our staff releases them back into the wild, where we work with other conservation organizations to monitor their continued well-being.
The Zoo has won many awards for conservation work. To support that work, the Zoo is equipped with unique, state-of-the-art facilities. The David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center is the only nonprofit facility of its kind in the world, and the Catherine Lowry Straz Veterinary Hospital is the first in a zoo to receive accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association. You can learn more about our species-specific conservation work by visiting each of the animal pages highlighted on this site.
Learn more about our conservation initiatives.