Nashville Zoo’s largest need is funding for development, renovation, operations, new exhibits and special event sponsorships to underwrite the cost of providing unique community experiences. Nashville Zoo is just one of a handful of the 223 accredited zoos that do not receive ongoing operational support from their local municipalities. Because of this, Nashville Zoo relies on private and corporate donors in addition to our earned revenue to fund all aspects of the day to day operations of the Zoo.
To date over fifty cubs have been produced in Thailand making this the most prolific breeding facility in the world for this endangered cat. As a result of this success Nashville Zoo was able to import new genetically viable animals for the first time in almost thirty years. After a ten year hiatus of there being no clouded cubs born in North America Nashville Zoo has been extremely successful in reproducing multiple litters from these imports. In 2012 we produced more cubs than all of the World’s zoos combined which has virtually saved the North American captive population from extinction. It is still critical to bring in additional founder animals to maintain a genetically divers population, and we are looking now to work with the governments of India and Myanmar to develop similar cooperative breeding programs as has been accomplished in Thailand.
After a decade of inexhaustible building and construction at the Grassmere property, Nashville Zoo is forced to focus our immediate energies on upgrading and expanding our infrastructure and visitor amenities to accommodate our rapidly growing attendance. Since we reopened the park in 1997, our attendance has increased by over 1000%, and facilities that were designed and built in the late 90’s can no longer efficiently accommodate the nearly 800,000 visitors we experienced in 2013. The Zoo is in the process of designing a critical new entry road that will take our existing two lanes to four lanes which will dramatically improve vehicular ingress and egress. We are also in the design phase for expanding our ticket booth and visitor services amenities to more efficiently handle the existing crowds and future anticipated attendance in excess of a million visitors annually as major new exhibits come to fruition. Additional infrastructural needs include additional parking, trams, expanded educational space, a new veterinary hospital, additional public restrooms and concession facilities, office expansions and a new and enlarged gift shop. Infrastructural improvements on this scale will require government support both on the local and state level so we can continue to create state of the art new exhibitry and maintain our status as the number 1 paid attraction in Middle Tennessee. The Zoo has an aggressive growth plan for capital projects that include a bear exhibit, penguin exhibit and our most ambitious project in the Zoo’s history that will immerse visitors into the African continent. This exhibit will contain some of the most charismatic and publicly recognized species that include gorillas, rhinoceros, lions, cheetahs, hippopotamus, mandrills and numerous species of primates, birds, reptiles, and ungulates. This exhibit will more than double the number of animals currently exhibited and will catapult Nashville Zoo into one of the top ranked zoos in the country and easily attract in excess of a million visitors which will create a strong economic impact on our great city.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Pet overpopulation is the most serious issue facing domesticated animals in Middle Tennessee. Many ongoing animal-related issues – including dog bites, disease, animal hoarding, cruelty to animals, and high euthanasia rates in shelters – ultimately stem from overpopulation, which has posed a complex dilemma in Middle Tennessee and across the country for decades.
More attention has been brought to this issue in the last 15 years, and many nonprofit groups in Middle Tennessee are working to offer low-cost spay/neuter services. Some government-funded animal-control programs also offer spay/neuter and adoption services.
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