The Minnesota Zoo is home to 64 species of threatened and endangered animals – from the awe-inspiring Amur tiger to the thumbnail-sized Dakota skipper butterfly.  With Endangered Species Day coming up on May 18th, we want to highlight some of these incredible species, what the Minnesota Zoo is doing to help, and what you can do too!

The Minnesota Zoo is known for Amur tigers, with more than 40 cubs born here since the Zoo opened in 1978!  Did you know that Minnesota Zoo staff coordinates the Tiger Species Survival Plan and its Tiger Conservation Campaign?  Together, the zoo-based breeding program and the campaign to fund on-the-ground conservation efforts are helping secure a future for endangered tigers.  We hope you’ll come to the Zoo to see our impressive Amur tigers, and be inspired to help!  Check out our Shop Smart for Palm Oil page to learn how you can help wild tigers every time you go to the grocery store.

The Minnesota Zoo also cares for threatened and endangered species that are native to Minnesota. We’re currently in the process of taking about 600 Dakota skipper caterpillars out of our specialized freezer where they have been hibernating the winter away behind-the-scenes!  We’re excited to reintroduce many of these Dakota skippers to The Nature Conservancy’s Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie Preserve this summer. You can help butterflies by planting for pollinators!  Also be sure to check out our butterfly guide.

Another way the Zoo supports the endangered species in our care is through the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program.  Funded through the Minnesota Zoo Foundation, recent grants have helped support critically endangered chinchilla conservation in Chile, research on threatened sharks off of the Australian coast, conservation efforts to benefit endangered golden lion tamarins in Brazil, and much more!  You can help us support our mission to save these incredible species by donating to our conservation programs or picking up a conservation wristband during your next visit to the Zoo!


Only around 500 Amur tigers are thought to remain in the wild.  Find out how you can help them at

The Zoo breeds and rears Dakota skippers as part of its Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program.