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Johannesburg Zoo


One of the main focuses of Conservation within the Zoo is the preservation and management of biodiversity, education, research and recreation which we integrate into all aspects of operation with conservation efforts and responsible environmental management in mind.

The Zoo houses 27 endangered species and participates in a number of conservation projects.
The Black Rhino

Black rhinos a critically endangered, however they have doubled in numbers over the past two decades from low point of 2480 individuals.

Black rhinos aka the hook-lipped rhino tend to be solitary in the wild. They are also known to shyer and more aggressive of the two African species.

The black rhino have two horns, which grow continually from the skin at their base throughout their life (like human finger nails). Male black rhinos tend to have thicker horns and females often have longer and thinner horns.

Black rhinos are smaller than white rhinos and have less of a pronounced hump on the back of their necks. They have a smaller head too. They are browsers so eat from higher bushes or trees requiring less muscle strength around their necks than white rhinos.

Poachers remain the biggest threat to the black rhino.

Black rhino numbers are slowly recovering and currently there are approximately between 5040 and 5458 animals (according to figures published by IUCN in 2016).

Adopt a Black Rhino


The Tiger

The largest of all Asian big cats, the tiger global population has declined dramatically, less than 4000 specimens in the wild. These cats are highly vulnerable to numerous threats in their habitat. Main threats include poaching, loss of habitat and conflicts with humans.

AIt is important to understand the vital role that the tiger plays in the ecosystem as they are one of the predators found at the top of the food chain. Without them it can lead to overpopulation of some types of animals.

Right now it is estimated that there are 7500 - 10 000 tigers in the world both in the wild and in captivity. The very low population means Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo has made aggressive efforts to continue to protect their environment, continue good genetic breeding and to allow these animals to survive. The Johannesburg Zoo successfully bred Siberian Tiger Cubs in April 2016. On average tigers give birth to two or three cubs every two years. Juvenile mortality is high as about half of all cubs do not survive more than two years. Tigers have been known to reach the age of 26.

Our successful breeding programmes go a long way in ensuring the survival of these big cats in captivity.

Adopt a Tiger

African Wild Dog

The African Wild Dog has been endangered for more than 20 years, approximately 6600 remain in the wild. Threats to the species include accidental or targeted killings by humans, viral diseases like rabies and distemper, habitat loss and competition with larger predators like lions.

At the Johannesburg Zoo a conservation and breeding programme began in 2014 with the intention to increase the number of African Wild Dogs. The aim of this conservation programme is to increase their numbers before sending them back to the wild.

Our Wild Dogs are fed once a day and are given 10kg of meat.

Fun Facts: These endangered canines closely resemble wolves in their pack-orientated social structure. The long-legged canines have four toes per paw, unlike dogs which have five toes per paw.

If you love these animals and want to contribute towards the project, please adopt an African Wild Dog and give this gift to future generations.

Adopt a Wild Dog

Vulture Conservation Project
The Cape Vulture is Southern Africa?s only endemic vulture species and is classified as endangered. The Johannesburg Zoo is involved in the breeding and release programme.
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Wattled Crane Conserveration Project
Wattled Crane is one of five critically endangered birds in South Africa and the most threatened crane species on the African continent. The Wattled Crane Conservation Programme aims to prevent extinction of the Wattled Crane in South Africa by breeding Wattled Cranes in captivity and releasing their offspring into wild flocks.
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Mabula Ground Hornbill Project
Southern Ground Hornbills are considered 'vulnerable' but their numbers are still declining. A detailed analysis of data collected by the Project, show Southern Ground Hornbills in South Africa to be endangered' and probably critically endangered under IUCN Criteria. There are probably only 1500 birds in South Africa, half of which are in the protected areas of the Kruger National Park.
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Indigenous Sheep Breeding Conservation Project
The Zoo participates in a cooperative breeding program in an attempt to increase sheep population.
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Chimpanzee Medical Assistance and Rescue with the Jane Goodall Institute.
The Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes) is the closest relative to humans. In recent years the ?bush-meat? trade has grown exponentially as the great wild forests of Africa have become more accessible to humans, largely due to logging which is destroying primate habitats by opening large sections of forest with dirt roads. It is estimated that Chimpanzees will be extinct within their natural habitats in as little time as 10 years. Therefore the Jane Goodall Institute is committed to conserving the primates and has created multiple sanctuaries in Africa.
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Bactrian Camels
We are looking into a project relating to the breeding and conservation of Bactrian Camels. Considering the Zoo?s past success with breeding Bactrian Camels and their upgrade to being Critically Endangered by the IUCN we would like to look into the reestablishment of a viable breeding herd.
Why are Zoo's Important
As the world's population continues to increase and wildlife and their habitats disappear, more and more people live in urban centres disconnected from the natural environment.  Please click here for more info.

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