Animal Care

Caring for All Animals

Tending to the animals’ physical health and overall well-being is a full-time job by a full staff. Our animal care program involves everyone from zookeepers to veterinarians. And it doesn’t stop there! See how you can help with everyday enrichment.

Animal Health & Nutrition

The Animal Health Center (AHC) staff’s goal is to improve animals’ lives by keeping them healthy and active.  The focus is preventive medicine to avoid illness and ensure healthy habitats and environments. Many animals are housed throughout the year – either in quarantine or for treatment.

As a renowned zoological medicine training hospital, AHC programs include a 1-month externship for fourth-year veterinary students and a 3-year Zoological Medicine Residency, which trains veterinarians in the zoo and exotic animal medicine field.

Three clinical medicine residents rotate annually for training at MCZ, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Medical Support Operations – Animal Records

AZA-accredited zoos keep up-to-date records for each animal, from birth to death. The registrar manages the database, overseeing the sharing and use of the data.

Information observed daily by the animal care staff is recorded in an electronic database, the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), the largest global animal management network. Thousands of entries are added annually to the database’s 10 million+ animals.

Conservation, Research and Population Management Programs

Animal care professionals at MCZ contribute to a diverse portfolio of conservation, research and reproduction programs at local, national and international levels.  Our collaborations with other conservation-focused organizations are of significance.  They bring strength and stability to the programs, as well as to the conservation community as a whole.

Significant funding comes from Zoo trust funds, the Zoological Society and from Zoo guests who opt to “Round Up for Conservation” at Zoo cash registers.

Conservation and Research Program Collaborative Support

The Zoo provides funding and/or staff support to selected conservation initiatives and research projects.  Some of the initiatives include: 

  • Turtle Survival Alliance (global)
  • Bat Conservation International (global)
  • International Elephant Foundation (Africa and Asia)
  • Baird’s Tapir Survival Alliance (Central & South America)
  • Snow Leopard Trust (Nepal)
  • AZA Tiger Conservation Campaign Amur Tiger Project (Russia)
  • Orangutan Outreach (Borneo and Sumatra)
  • Lola Ya Bonobo — Bonobo Sanctuary (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • Kibale Fuel Wood Project (Uganda)
  • Berggorilla and Regenwald Direkthilfe Gorilla Project (Rwanda)
  • Giraffe Conservation Foundation (Namibia)
  • Sahara Conservation Fund Ostrich and Addax Projects (Niger)
  • Cheetah Conservation Botswana (Botswana)
  • Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project (South Africa)
  • Madagascar Fauna & Flora Group (Madagascar)
  • Pat Gives Back (Belize)
  • Proyecto Tití (Colombia)
  • Humboldt Penguin Conservation (Peru)
  • Project Golden Frog (Panama)
  • Rock Iguana Conservation (Jamaica)
  • Rock Iguana Conservation (Grand Cayman)
  • Marmot Recovery Project (Canada)
  • Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project (Florida)
  • Bureau of Endangered Resources Herp Fund – WI DNR (Wisconsin)
  • Migratory and Resident Avifauna Study (Zoo)
  • Great Ape Heart Project (International)
  • Milwaukee Ape Heart Project (Zoo)
  • Great Ape Cardiovascular Disease Study (Zoo)
  • Great Ape Ultrasound Studies (Zoo)
  • Bonobo Cardiovascular Database (Zoo)