The Minnesota Zoo, thanks to your support, has continued to be a natural wonder for Minnesotans and visitors beyond. You have helped to sustain the Zoo, allowing it to continue to serve the community and fulfill its mission of connecting people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife.

Further, you’ve helped the Zoo progress. By conducting new and critical conservation projects both locally and globally, the Zoo is working to ensure that the animals we know and love today will be here for our families to know and love tomorrow.

Despite challenges our world continued to face in the wake of a global pandemic, our dedicated supporters have been a beacon of hope for the future. We know that because there are caring, passionate people who support wildlife and work toward saving our natural world, we can create a better future for humans, animals, and our planet.

Thank you for choosing the Minnesota Zoo and for supporting the Zoo’s mission during a time when the needs across the state are vast. We feel fortunate you chose us. We are truly grateful for your efforts and those of our board members, state representatives, volunteers, and employees who advocate tirelessly to ensure wildlife thrives in Minnesota and beyond. Again, thank you.

John Frawley
Director, Minnesota Zoo
President, Minnesota Zoo Foundation

Joe Ravens
Chair, Minnesota Zoo Foundation Board

"The Minnesota Zoo is simply wonderful. My family has spent countless hours at the Zoo, and we’ve loved every visit. Each time we go, there are new experiences. I have loved being able to go and teach my daughter about animals and show her the importance of wildlife and nature."

"The Minnesota Zoo provides so much to the community and animals. I feel so lucky to be able to go enjoy what the Zoo has to offer and support their efforts. "

- Kayla Kortan, Director’s Circle donor

Saving a Critically Endangered Species

The Minnesota Zoo’s black rhino conservation program in Namibia supports one of the most successful programs of its kind in the world, dedicated to saving the critically endangered black rhino from extinction. And while one may have expected difficulties maintaining the program during the pandemic, the Zoo’s International Conservation Biologist (and staff person leading the Zoo’s effort in Namibia in partnership with Namibia’s Save the Rhino Trust) Dr. Jeff Muntifering says that Rhino Rangers didn’t just sustain their efforts – they increased them.

“All of our performance metrics improved, even as the pandemic progressed,” says Dr. Muntifering. “We look at three big metrics each year: the number of days that teams are out on patrol; kilometers traveled by foot [by the Rangers]; and number of total rhino sightings. Each of these went up significantly.”

All these metrics combined mean a better outcome for black rhinos. “Since August 2020, we haven’t seen any poaching events.” Further, for the first time ever, rangers accumulated over 4,000 rhino sightings in one year, a ten-fold increase from what was recorded over a decade ago, before the program started.

As the Rhino Rangers have increased their efforts, they continue to build an ever-increasing log of invaluable data. This information is critical to understanding this species, such as how they utilize the landscape, what threats they face, and how we can best continue to protect them. The rhinos in this portion of Namibia make up the last truly wild black rhinoceros population remaining in the world today. The more we understand about them, the better positioned we will be to protect them from extinction.

Recognizing and integrating the local human dimension in our efforts to save rhinos is perhaps even more critical than the direct rhino protection efforts led by rangers. Spending days on end in the desolate Namibian desert carries with it no shortage of risks – from brutal weather, physically demanding work, and remote locations. That’s why a new Ranger welfare initiative was created this last year, with the goal of providing Rhino Rangers with increased access to and knowledge of personal healthcare. Rangers now receive first aid training, as well as no-cost professional gear like boots, cargo pants, and sun hats. Further, Rangers can now access health screenings with a physician to improve their personal health and wellbeing.

But the work doesn’t stop at the rangers. Our Rhino Pride Campaign extends our efforts to the broader community by supporting valued social development initiatives with a rhino theme such as reading in schools and youth sports to demonstrate how caring for rhinos can help enrich local lives.

“For almost 40 years, we have experienced the growth of Minnesota Zoo's world class exhibits and programming. Our roots from a southern Minnesota farming community led us to support the creation of the Wells Fargo Family Farm and it still holds a special place for us. Minnesota's children can continue to experience and learn about our agricultural heritage. With the recent birth of the rare Amur Tiger cubs and with the Treetop Trail well under construction, we are excited about the new and exciting future of the Zoo-Minnesota's GREAT TREASURE! As President's Club and Circle of Life Society members, we are thrilled to be part of these exciting times at the Zoo. Any size planned gift is helpful to ensure the Zoo's future so that the next generations can continue to enjoy what we have over all these many years.”

- Jim and Carmen Campbell, President’s Club and Circle of Life donors

A Continual Investment in Animal Care

The Minnesota Zoo is committed to continually investing in animal care. As researchers learn more about the unique care needs of species, keepers adapt to the latest information, like with habitat or enrichment changes. As medicine advances, like in the case of an animal-approved version of the COVID-19 vaccine, veterinarians jump into action to protect our most vulnerable species. And as our understanding of exotic animal nutrition grows, the Zoo brings on specialists to ensure we’re providing the best possible care, like with the recent hire of an Animal Nutritionist.

As the Zoo’s first Animal Nutritionist, Kelly Kappen formulates healthy diets with specific nutrient targets and oversees feed acquisition and distribution logistics. She also stays up to date with the evolving field by conducting research and sharing information with zoo nutritionists around the world.

“Zoo animal nutrition is one hundred percent collaboration,” says Kappen. “I can formulate a “perfect” diet on paper, but I have to rely on feedback from animal care staff, as well as results from veterinary exams to make sure it’s working in the real world.”

Kappen works with staff across the Zoo to ensure that their priorities are considered in diet formulations. For example, veterinarians may have concerns about an animal’s medical or dental health that nutrition can help address. And keepers may need high-value treats for training and need to know what options can be provided. Kappen considers all of this so she can develop a healthy diet that meets nutrient requirements and addresses any concerns.

By hiring an Animal Nutritionist, the Zoo can be more proactive with diet evaluations and prevent health issues that require veterinary intervention – resulting in improved animal care across the Zoo.

“Tennant Company is proud to support the Minnesota Zoo and the guests who enjoy visiting and learning there. Our spring Clean Sweep event, an employee favorite, removed winter debris from Zoo roads, trails, sidewalks, and parking areas using Tennant sweepers and scrubbers operated by more than 50 company volunteers.”

“As part of our investment in the communities where we live, work and play, the Tennant Foundation is a long-time Zoo partner through grants, matching employee gifts, and equipment donations.”

-Joni Marti, Tennant Foundation President

Wells Fargo Family Farm Renovation

Beyond a destination for visitors to engage with people, nature, and animals, the Wells Fargo Family Farm is a place where current and future generations can come to understand and appreciate the role of local farms and agriculture.

Visitors experience a small-scale example of what you may see on a larger farm – such as rolling pastures, quintessential red barns, and the oinks, chirps, and moos of farm animals. They also learn about the farming profession and where our food comes from.

As modern farming practices have significantly evolved since the Farm’s opening in 2000, a renovation was due to reflect the ever-changing industry. With new educational experiences, enhanced animal habitats, and updated interpretive messaging throughout, guests can access information about the important role that agriculture plays in our collective lives today.

In addition, The Cargill Classroom in the granary was also renovated as we pilot a nature preschool that will provide children with opportunities to explore the natural world through play and learning.


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