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Did you know...

  • Knoxville Zoo is the red panda capital of the Western hemisphere, with 93 cubs born here since 1978.  Red pandas are a threatened species in the wild, and the zoo's conservation efforts are an important part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which manages the breeding and placement of these animals in accredited zoos across the country.  In 2008, Knoxville Zoo unveiled The Boyd Family Red Panda Village, a beautiful new home for the zoo's red pandas that allows visitors the chance to encounter these irresistable creatures up close.
  • Knoxville Zoo is home to more than 900 animals, and the annual food budget is more than $160,000.  Now THAT'S a lot of groceries!  Each week, the animals consume 5,200 pounds of hay, 120 pounds of bananas, 735 pounds of grain, and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Knoxville Zoo's Black Bear Falls was named one of the best black bear exhibits in the country.  Home to the zoo's four bears, this 3/4 acre open air exhibit features realistic trees, waterfalls and streams flowing through the exhibit, plus special viewing areas that allow guests a peak inside the bear dens, too.
  • Knoxville Zoo has one of the finest reptile collections in the U.S.  With more than 400 specimens representing over 80 species, the zoo's Herpetology department has an international reputation for their success breeding rare, threatened and endangered species.  Knoxville Zoo has the distinction of being the first in the world to breed Papuan pythons, and is one of the few zoos in the country to successfully breed the little-known Philippine pit-viper, and to consistently have success breeding tiger rattlesnakes.  Over the past few years, turtles and tortoises have become a conservation priority for Knoxville Zoo, and these species now make up over 50% of the reptile and amphibian collection. The first zoo in the U.S. to have breeding success with the endangered Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise, the zoo also has consistently been successful breeding Madagascar spider tortoises and Indian star tortoises.  Knoxville Zoo has also taken a leading role in local conservation efforts focused on the threatened bog turtle, native to wetlands in the East Tennessee region.  Combining the study of the species in the wild with a successful captive-breeding program that gives the turtles a head start has resulted in over 135 young bog turtles being released back into the wild.  In 2008, the first bog turtle hatchling was documented at one of the wetland release sites, a positive sign for the program and the future of bog turtles in East Tennessee.
  • Knoxville Zoo is one of the top zoo's in the country for the breeding of white rhinos; 28 calves have been born here since the 1970's.  The zoo is actively invovled in the white rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP), and just welcomed Maggie, a new addition to the rhino herd who arrived on a breeding recommendation.  The zoo's ability to house a large group of rhinos and Knoxville's mild climate, (which allows the herd to be outside for most of the year), are thought to be factors that influence the success of Knoxville Zoo's breeding program.
  • Knoxville Zoo's Chimp Ridge is home to nine chimpanzees, including George, who was born at Knoxville Zoo in July 2008 to proud parents Daisy and Jimbo.  George was the first chimpanzee born at Knoxville Zoo in 20 years!
  • Knoxville Zoo's resident bull  African elephant, Tonka, weighs in at over 15,000 pounds and is one of only a few mature bull elephants on exhibit in the U.S.  Each of the African elephants at Knoxville Zoo are accomoplished artists who paint with their trunks; paintings have sold for as much as $1,350!