Radio Show: The Memphis Zoo

Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs at the Memphis Zoo, was recently selected as one of 10 professionals in the country to take part in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Executive Leadership Development Program.

It all began in 1906 with a black bear named Natch - a retired baseball mascot. Today, the Memphis Zoo spans 70 acres and is home to more than 4,500 animals, representing over 500 different species.

In 2008, the Memphis Zoo was ranked America’s No.1 zoo by In 2009, the Memphis Zoo was rated the "top zoo in the country" in a national survey by Morey Associates.

The Memphis Zoo has completed more than $90 million in renovations and expansion, since the early 1990s. The Zoo's animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind exhibits like Once Upon A Farm, Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage and CHINA.

In April 2003, the Memphis Zoo became one of only four zoos in the United States to exhibit giant pandas. Giant pandas "Ya Ya" and "Le Le" live in the Zoo’s exhibit, CHINA – a brand new, three-acre facility that features animals that are indigenous to China, complete with authentic Chinese gardens and architecture.

The Memphis Zoo is home to the world’s longest living hippopotamus, “Adonis," who died in 1965 at the age of 54. The male hippo sired approximately 25 offspring in his lifetime, giving the Zoo the title of “hippo capital of the world.”

An accredited member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the Memphis Zoo works cooperatively with animal facilities and organizations around the world, in order to further its mission of preserving wildlife through conservation, education and research.

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