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Conservation Initiatives

NC Zoo

Partnering with the NC Zoo

Before partnering with the NC Zoo, we needed to do our homework. Is it a good fit for our goal of using art to help protect wildlife and our environment? After several visits and meetings and lots of research, the resounding answer is YES. But first, a few facts.

The Largest Walk thru Zoo in the World

Who would have thought the North Carolina Zoo practices worldwide conservation? Really? And where in the world is the zoo, how big is it and why do we not know more about it? These are questions we asked ourselves recently. The answers are stunning.

The largest walk-through zoo in the world, yes in the world,  just happens to be in our backyard in Asheboro, North Carolina. Right smack in the middle of the state with over 2,200 acres, 500 of which are developed for the zoo. And it is one of only two zoos in the U.S. which is state-owned. You have to see it to believe it.

NC Zoo

Gazing into an elephant’s eye will touch your soul

Walking the more than 5 miles of paths, new things appear around every corner. We see some of our favorite animals: hellbenders, red wolves, gorillas, polar bears, numerous birds and one of our very favorites, elephants! Looking into an elephant’s eyes, your soul and heart are touched in unexplainable ways. Just try it.

We love the huge areas in which the animals roam, with approximately 40 acres of savanna where the elephants, gazelles, and rhinos thrive. And the zookeepers are so dedicated to each animal’s health- both physical and mental. The emphasis is always on the animal’s welfare which is important to us.

As an added benefit, the NC Zoo is home to an impressive collection of wildlife art. Mostly sculpture, the art allows visitors to learn first hand about animals and their habitat, especially when the animal depicted can be hard to see. Dale’s sculpture, Hellbenders Rock, was installed in a newly renovated hellbender exhibit on May 8, 2018. A great example of using art to increase awareness of these wonderful, reclusive giant salamanders.

NC Zoo

Dale with “Hellbenders Rock” at the NC Zoo.

NC Zoo Practices Worldwide Conservation

NC Zoo

A red wolf at the NC Zoo.

Most exciting for us, however, are the worldwide conservation programs in which the zoo participates. Preventing the extinction of wildlife drives the NC Zoo’s conservation efforts.

Current activities include working with Rangers in Cameroon to help save the Cross River gorilla using GPS technology, participating in the Red Wolf Breeding program to increase the population of red wolves in captivity, and designing and installing hellbender nesting boxes in Western NC to improve the habitat for Eastern Hellbenders. Wow!

Our Involvement

NC Zoo

Dustin Smith, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, shows Dale the hellbender nesting boxes

As our excitement grows in discovering the zoo, we joined as lifetime members.

Since joining, are helping raise awareness of hellbenders by donating  “Hellbenders Rock”, Dale’s hellbender sculpture, to the zoo.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of  “Fractured Existence”, one of Dale’s elephant sculptures, has been donated to the zoo’s elephant enrichment program. We can’t wait to see how this develops.

And we are raising money for amphibian conservation programs thru the sale of “Jumpin’ Jack in the Pulpit”, a limited edition frog bronze. And we are just getting started!


To learn more about the North Carolina Zoo:

NC Zoo

NC Zoological Society