Celebrating National Zoo and Aquarium Month


The month of June is here, which means it’s National Zoo and Aquarium Month! Zoo and Aquarium Month is recognized every year in June to honor and celebrate the contribution of accredited zoos and aquariums towards research and conservation that is vital to protect our natural world. This month exists to encourage people to visit and engage with zoos and aquariums and to learn more about how we all can be a conservation legend! 

ZookeepersThe Akron Zoo offers many ways to observe National Zoo and Aquarium Month. 

The simplest way to observe this month is to pay a visit to your Akron Zoo! Your support helps the zoo provide food and medical care for our more than 2,000 animals, offer educational programs to students in our community, make a difference locally and globally through our conservation efforts and so much more! The Akron Zoo’s Conservation Fund helps to aid local, regional and global field conservation projects that work to ensure species survival. You can find more information about these projects here: Field Conservation | Akron Zoo. 

While you’re visiting, be sure to stop and say hi to our animals involved in Species Survival Plans, or SSPs! SSPs are programs designed to cooperatively manage specific and typically threatened or endangered species within accredited zoos. The Akron Zoo currently participates in 41 managed SSPs! Through the work of zoos and other conservation groups, many animal species whose numbers were declining are now making a comeback. 

Partula snailsOne of these species is the Partula snail. Partula snails were declared extinct in the wild in the 1990s due to harm from invasive species. Partula snails play a vital role in the ecological system of the French Polynesian islands through maintaining forest health by feeding on decaying plants. Returning them to the islands helps to restore the islands’ ecology. The Akron Zoo has been actively participating in Partula snail reintroductions, which has seen around 25,000 snails released in the last nine years, making it the largest reintroduction of a species extinct in the wild. The snail introduction site in Tahiti has been cleared of all invasive species, making it safe to release the snails.

Another one of these species is our Red Wolves. In 2021, the Akron Zoo welcomed critically endangered red wolf pups for the first time in its history. The zoo’s female red wolf gave birth to eight pups, four of whom were designated by the Red Wolf Recovery Plan to be cross-fostered to a den in their native habitat where a native red wolf had recently given birth. These pups, two males and two females, were transported to North Carolina when they were just over a week old, and USFWS officials successfully introduced the pups to the foster den that day. This was the first time since 2014 that red wolf pups were able to be reintroduced into their native habitat.  

If you are unable to visit an accredited zoo or aquarium during the month of June, there are still lots of ways to participate in conservation from home! The Akron Zoo was appointed as the new managing organization of FrogWatch USA in 2022. FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program that allows members of the public to report any sightings of frogs and toads online to help experts gain a better understanding of frog populations. Frogs and toads have been vitally important in the field of human medicine, and compounds from their skin are currently being tested for anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties. Frogs and toads also play an important role in wetland ecosystems, serving as both prey and predator. These species are often considered indicators of environmental health.

You can also contribute to conservation by setting your thermostat two degrees warmer in the summer or two degrees cooler in the winter to save electricity, turning off lights when you leave a room and making better seafood choices with Seafood Watch! You can find more information about these programs here: Get Involved | Akron Zoo. 

Happy National Zoo and Aquarium Month! 

Written by Kate Jeffries. Published June 25, 2024