Global Center for Species Survival

A partnership between the Indianapolis Zoo and the IUCN Species Survival Commission

What is the Global Center for Species Survival?

The Global Center for Species Survival is built upon a partnership and a commitment to conservation. As human pressure continues to drive biodiversity loss, the work of conservationists from around the world becomes more vital in protecting and restoring nature. Only through collaboration can we protect species and the spaces they call home.

That’s why the Indianapolis Zoo partnered with the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the world’s largest science-based network with thousands of dedicated individuals working to encourage and assist societies to conserve biodiversity.

The Global Center combines the expertise and resources of its partners to provide crucial capacity to support, connect and communicate the work of more than 10,000 conservationists joined together in more than 180 Specialist Groups, Task Forces and Conservation Committees of the IUCN SSC.



The Global Center team consists of seven conservation experts, a behavior change specialist, a public relations specialist and a director. While the team is based in Indianapolis, they have decades of experience working on five continents to save species from extinction.

“These extraordinary conservationists help to accelerate the conservation of animals, fungi and plants under water and on land,” said Indianapolis Zoo Senior Vice President and Global Center Director Bill Street. “In partnership with the IUCN Species Survival Commission, we are making a significant contribution to saving species worldwide and redefining how zoos can support field conservation efforts.”

The Global Center team supports thousands of conservationists who are working to tackle critical planetary issues leading to biodiversity loss, such as invasive species, habitat degradation, overexploitation and illegal wildlife trade.

It is the mission of the Global Center to support the IUCN Species Survival Commission in influencing, encouraging and assisting societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature.

Strengthing Conservation


The IUCN SSC network follows the One Plan Approach, which emphasizes collaboration between all parties involved in saving species. This plan utilizes the strengths of in situ and ex situ conservation. When you visit an accredited zoo like the Indianapolis Zoo, you are participating in the conservation of species, because admission fees contribute to the care of biodiversity and wild populations. That care leads to greater understanding of species, and that understanding improves the ability to make an authentic difference in saving species.

The Global Center opened in 2020 with generous support from Lilly Endowment, Inc. In addition to serving as a conservation hub, the Global Center also hosts international meetings and conferences, furthering economic benefit to the community and solidifying the Zoo’s efforts to make Indianapolis one of the most conservation-literate cities in the world


The mission of the Indianapolis Zoo is to protect nature and inspire people to care for our world. A critical component of the Zoo’s conservation mission is to promote sustainability. The Zoo tackles this mission on multiple fronts, including initiating and maintaining green practices and encouraging others to adopt a “greener” way of life through special programs and exhibit features at the Zoo, which help set a good example for sustaining a healthy environment in Indianapolis and beyond.


The IUCN Species Survival Commission is a science-based network of thousands of volunteer experts from almost every country in the world, all working together toward achieving the vision of “a just world that values and conserves nature through positive action to both prevent the loss and aid recovery of the diversity of life on earth.”