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Apple Valley, MINN – September 30, 2013 –The Minnesota Zoo has always showcased the
amazing diversity of wildlife from around the world, and now, with the launch of its new
BioDiscovery Project, it will document the wealth of native wildlife living on the
undeveloped portion of the Zoo grounds.
The Minnesota Zoo is located on a large parcel of land: 485 acres, of which 58% is natural
habitat. From common oak forest, aspen woodland, lakes, ponds, and marshes, to
regionally-rarer environments like vernal pools, sedge meadows, and northern rich fens, the
Zoo contains habitats for a diverse array of native plants and animals. The BioDiscovery
Project was created, with support from Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land & Legacy
Amendment, to discover, document, and monitor the wildlife that occurs naturally on this
“By sharing our discoveries with the public, we hope to inspire people to get outdoors and
explore the incredible diversity of native wildlife that we have in our local communities,” said
Dr. Tara Harris, the Minnesota Zoo’s director of conservation. “We feel that connecting with
wildlife on a personal level will motivate people to take an active role in wildlife
So far, the Minnesota Zoo has documented many species of birds, amphibians, reptiles,
insects, and mammals as part of the BioDiscovery Project. Although many species were
known to make their homes on the Zoo grounds, some – like the southern red-backed vole,
meadow jumping mouse, spotted spreadwing damselfly, calico pennant dragonfly, rosebreasted
grosbeak, red-eyed vireo, wood frog, and boreal chorus frog – have now been
documented onsite for the very first time. As the program progresses, the Zoo expects to find many more species.
Are you interested in exploring with the Zoo and learning more about native wildlife? The
Minnesota Zoo will be developing citizen science opportunities through the BioDiscovery
Project, which will allow the public to participate. Stay connected to the Zoo’s blog and
Facebook pages for updates.
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For
more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnszoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an
accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an
institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
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