Animal Care Facility

The Dakota Zoo is home to over 600 animals representing more than 125 species, each with its own unique set of care requirements. Many of the animals in our collection are endangered or threatened species that are involved in collaborative efforts with other zoos and wildlife agencies in programs called species survival plans. These plans help to ensure genetic diversity, oversee proper breeding programs and work to reintroduce animals back into the wild if secure environments are present.

Our animals receive the finest veterinary care possible, thanks to the vision and generosity of some long-time Zoo supporters.

The Dr. James & Edna Moses Animal Care Facility is a fully equipped veterinary hospital located on the zoo grounds which is staffed by two local Veterinarians who volunteer their time; Dr. Jim Wheeler and Dr. Kelly Thorsness. In addition to their work with the Zoo’s animals, Dr. Jim and Dr. Kelly also conduct a variety of educational presentations in the Animal Care Facility, including hands-on demonstrations during our Junior Zookeeper camps, and seminars for animal care professionals.

Complementing the work of our Zoo Vets, close observation by our Zoo staff is essential to the well being of our animal residents.  Our keepers’ detailed knowledge of the habits of the animals under their care, combined with daily interaction, allows any potential health issues to be quickly identified and remedied.