Minnesota Zoo launches biodiscovery project

Minnesota Zoo launches biodiscovery project

MN Zoo.jpg


Zoo begins documenting onsite native wildlife; will later implement citizen science



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 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).



Kelly Lessard

Public Relations Manager