Currently the animal collection at John Ball Zoo includes 237 species and 1,183 individuals.


Species Individuals
43 mammals 149
58 birds 219
11 amphibians 26
35 fish 318
48 invert 391

Endangered, Threatened or Protected Animals Housed At John Ball Zoo

Mammals Herptiles
(reptiles and amphibians)
Sitatunga Wood Turtle* Monk Parakeet
Chimpanzees Black Rat Snake* Snowy Owl
Maned Wolf Aruba Island Rattlesnake American Bald Eagle
Siberian Tiger Poison Arrow frog Golden Eagle
Snow Leopard Gila Monster Military Macaw
Hoffman's Two-Toed Sloth Spotted Turtle* Fulvous Whistling Duck
Goeldi's Monkey Eastern Box Turtle* Barn Owl
Black Howler Monkey Black Rat Snake* Barred Owl
Pale-Headed Saki Wood Turtle* Black-Necked Swan
Spider Monkey   West African Crowned Crane
Mexican Porcupine   Chilean Flamingo
Grizzly Bear   Blue and Yellow Macaw

Geoffroy's Cat

  Patagonian Conure

* Michigan list


What is the Species Survival Plan (SSP)?

The Species Survival Plan, or SSP, began in 1981 as a way for zoos and aquariums in North American to manage and conserve selected species. Each Species Survival Plan manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining group of animals that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Most SSP species are endangered or threatened in the wild. Also, SSP species are often "flagship species", well-known animals which arouse strong feelings in the public for their preservation and protection of their habitat.

In addition to managing these animals, the SSP members cooperate on conservation strategies, work to increase public awareness of wildlife conservation issues, conduct research to learn more about the species, and work towards reintroduction of captive bred wildlife into restored and secure habitats as appropriate.

Does John Ball Zoo participate in any Species Survival Plans?

YES! John Ball Zoo currently works with SSP's for these animals:

Goeldi's Monkeys
Maned Wolves
Snow Leopards
Aruba Island Rattlesnakes
Clouded Leopards
Wyoming Toad **

** In 1997, the John Ball Zoological Garden received an American Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Award for work in the reintroduction of the Wyoming toad. Just a few years ago the Wyoming toad was nearly extinct in the wild. Now thanks to the cooperative work of several zoos, including your Zoo, Wyoming toads are once again populating the wild.

Questions and Answers

Where does the Zoo get its animals?

Almost every animal at John Ball Zoo was born in another zoo. Very few animals are taken from the wild. Most of our wild born animals are at the zoo because they sustained injuries and can no longer fend for themselves in their natural habitat.
The American bald eagles at John Ball Zoo are a good example. The male suffered an injury in the wild which severed a wing. No longer able to fly, the United States Fish and Wildlife Services gave him to the Zoo to protect.
The female bald eagle also is unable to exist on her own in the wild. However, these two wild born birds have hatched five chicks since they have been together at the Zoo. Their chicks have been sent to Tennessee as part of the Tennessee eagle recovery program. Each of the John Ball Zoo eagle chicks has been released into the wild.

Where do the animals go in the winter?

John Ball Zoo is a year round facility with a year round collection. Many of the Zoo's animals love the cold and snow. It's the perfect time to enjoy the snow leopards, grizzly bears, otters, and Siberian tigers. The Living Shores Aquarium is a great spot to get away from the cold and enjoy animals from Patagonia to the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Do exotic animals make good pets?
No. Exotic animals have special needs and are more difficult to care for than domestic animals. Many are illegal to own privately. The Zoo receives many offers each year from people who have purchased animals they thought would make interesting pets. These animals (monkeys, alligators, snakes, even lions) have become too dangerous or too difficult for the owner to handle.
Please, if you want a pet, contact your veterinarian, the Kent County Animal Shelter, or a reputable pet store to find out what kind of animal will make a good pet for you.

Animals At The Zoo!