Research

​​​​The staff of the Indianapolis Zoo participates in several in-house research projects that may tell us more about animal biology and behavior.  We have numerous scientific research projects and we participate in cooperative animal management programs as well.

As a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Indianapolis Zoo is committed to scientific research, both basic and applied, that can help advance animal conservation efforts. AZA-accredited-zoos and aquariums conduct and facilitate research both in the wild and outside of the wild to increase our understanding of the animals in our care and support the conservation of wild populations. We also participate in research that increases our understanding of how audiences relate to nature and to develop programs that advance our animal conservation mission.

Artificial Insemination of African Elephants

In 1998, the Indianapolis Zoo successfully introduced an alternative reproductive technique for elephants. For the first time in the history of the species, two of our adult female African elephants – Kubwa and Ivory – were artificially inseminated subsequently delivered healthy calves in 2000. Research that began at the Indianapolis Zoo has led to the successful insemination of elephants worldwide. Kubwa and Ivory made history again in 2005 and 2006 by becoming the first and second African elephants in the world to successfully conceive and give birth to a calf through artificial insemination for a second time, and then again in 2011 and 2012 with the births of their third calves. Our breeding program has been a collaborative effort with such colleagues as Germany's Berlin Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research and Dr. Dennis Schmitt, veterinary reproductive specialist at Southwest Missouri State University. In 2002, the Indianapolis Zoo opened its new African Elephant Preserve with additional facilities to continue with our breeding program and other important research.

Lemur Field Research

Michelle Sauter and Frank Cuozzo study the lemurs in their home range on Madagascar and compare that information to the parameters established with our ring-tailed lemurs here at the Indianapolis Zoo. Creating a baseline for comparison is a significant step in understanding the effects of human encroachment on lemur habitat. The Indianapolis Zoo collaborates with the Lemur Biology Project in Madagascar. Read more about their field research​.

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums conduct extensive research projects, such as studies about a species biology, physiology or sensory systems, within their institutions. These studies would be nearly impossible to conduct in the wild and the information gained from them has direct applications to species conservation. The Indianapolis Zoo participates in studies and publishes the results for the benefit of scientists and animal conservationists throughout the world.

In addition, professional Zoo staff members are involved with various groups within the national AZA organization that facilitate the management, care, research, and conservation of animal species.  These collaborative groups are composed of experts from throughout accredited zoos.  Specifically, Zoo staff are involved in the following AZA Programs:

As Institutional Representatives on the Animal Welfare Committee, Avian Scientific Advisory Group, Avian Interest Group, and Behavior Advisory Group, and as the Taxon Advisory Group Steering Committee Member for the Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC.)

The Indianapolis Zoo receives no direct public support and is dependent on the generosity of individual, corporate, foundation and estate gifts. Consider an opportunity to partner with us in the vital conservation, research, exhibition and education efforts of the Indianapolis Zoo.​