Conservation is an important part of Caldwell Zoo’s mission to preserve and protect animals. As part of that mission the zoo is home to a dozen endangered species, including the cheetahs, ring-tailed lemurs, black-footed penguins and black rhinoceros. In addition to species listed as endangered, the zoo houses numerous animals that are threatened (the population is at risk of becoming endangered). Coatis and bald eagles are currently on the list of threatened species.

At first glance, these animals may not seem to have much in common. But most species that become threatened or endangered share a set of common traits. For example, many species live in areas that are being destroyed by the encroachment of humans through farming or land development. Deforestation is another problem for endangered species, as animals are pushed farther and farther from their natural habitat. Habitat destruction is usually considered to be the number one threat to the wildlife of our world. In addition, some species fall prey to hunters looking to capitalize on an animal’s economic value, whether for fur trade, jewelry, meat, traditional folk medicine, cosmetics or souvenirs.

Other factors that threaten a species include:

Restricted distribution – an animal lives in only one small place in the world, so one disaster could prove to be devastating to a species.

Migration across international boundaries – species protection requires cooperation from different governments, which is often difficult to achieve.

Adverse to humans – animals may be unable to live and breed in environments that are becoming more populated by humans.

Long gestation period or low birth rate – the black rhinoceros, for example, has a gestation period of 16 months and only has one calf at a time.

Inability to adapt – the animals are unable to survive new factors in their environment, such as chemicals, noise, or air and water pollution.

Pet trade – animals that are popular pets, such as parrots, often die in shipping or because of neglect or abuse.

Domination by an introduced species – sometimes a new species is a predator with no natural enemies and it destroys an existing animal population.

The fact is, in our modern world, many factors threaten animals. And once an animal is extinct, it’s gone forever. At Caldwell Zoo we take our mission of conservation very seriously. We know it is important to protect endangered species and help them breed, encouraging the survival of the species.

And remember, as a ZooMember you can help support Caldwell Zoo’s conservation efforts.


Help save a rhino by donating your old cell phone.

Help us turn your cell phones, cell phone batteries and chargers into much needed funds for rhino conservation and at the same time keep toxins found in these phones from ending up in our landfills and poisoning our environment.

Collection boxes are located at the zoo's front entry and Tyler Recycling Center. All proceeds collected from cell phone recycling at Caldwell Zoo will be donated directly to the International Rhino Foundation.