Species Success Stories
Through the work undertaken by our Wildlife Health Centre, the Zoo is a leader in breeding programs targeted at propagating and eventually repatriating endangered species. By breeding and releasing endangered species back into the wild, the Toronto Zoo has given a number of Canada's endangered species a chance at survival. Species such as the Vancouver Island marmot, wood bison and black-footed ferret have come back from the brink of extinction as a result of these initiatives. Additionally, research in animal care and nutrition is contributing to the body of knowledge used to save species in the wild, such as the Polar bear.
Vancouver Island Marmots
The Vancouver Island marmot is a critically-endangered species endemic to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Since the start of the captive breeding and release program, 126 litters with a total of 442 pups have been produced among the four captive breeding facilities. Survival rates are encouraging as captive-born animals have now survived several hibernation periods and are reproducing in the wild.
By 1900 only a couple hundred Wood bison still existed in the wild and were once virtually extirpated. Through intense breeding and release efforts by the Toronto Zoo's Wildlife Health Centre and reproductive staff, as well as various other organizations, the Wood bison is no longer under immediate threat.
Black Footed Ferrets
The Toronto Zoo has been involved in the recovery program for the endangered black-footed ferret since 1992. Since then, the Toronto Zoo has produced hundreds of kits and animals have been reintroduced to the United States, Mexico and Canada. This program is a high priority for the Zoo as we attempt to re-establish black-footed ferret populations across North America. Autumn 2009 marked the first Canadian release of black-footed ferrets into the wild - a momentous achievement for the Canadian recovery program.
Polar Bears - Hudson & Humphrey
Two Polar bear cubs, Hudson (2011) and Humphrey (2013), have been hand-reared by Wildlife Health Centre staff after requiring medical intervention. Veterinary staff and animal care experts began the continuous process of monitoring their temperature, taking blood samples, weighing and feeding them with a specially developed formula to nurse them to health. Thanks to our research and wildlife care efforts, both cubs are strong and doing well. Hudson is now at the Assinboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg where he will contribute to breeding initiatives resulting in an increase in the global population of Polar bears.
This project is an investment in the care and well-being of our animal ambassadors and the species survival efforts at the Toronto Zoo. Supporting or partnering with the Zoo demonstrates your commitment to the survival of species at risk.
For more information on corporate or personal donation opportunities, including naming, bequests or other gifts please contact: