From delivering high quality conservation education programs and providing superb veterinary support for SSP and research programs to administering a wide variety of regional and international conservation efforts, the Riverbanks Zoo staff is continuously and actively involved with conservation.
Riverbanks has always been committed to the medical care and treatment of injured native birds of prey and endangered species. The BB&T clinic has performed an enormous amount of work on such notable species as Bald eagles, Peregrine falcons, Osprey and Wood stork. Clinic staff has spoken to thousands of individuals, spreading the message of conservation and preservation. The clinic and its staff are making a real difference for native South Carolina wildlife.
Riverbanks has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Fort Gordon for the management and conservation of pygmy sunfish. Riverbanks has established an ex-situ breeding program for pygmy sunfishes, savannah darters and mud sunfish collected from Fort Gordon with the eventual goal of releasing captive breed offspring back into restored habitat.
A multi-year project to survey the diversity of fishes, amphibians and reptiles in this unique, and as of yet, unsurveyed South Carolina Heritage Preserve.
The largest of all rattlesnakes, the species has declined dramatically in South Carolina. Riverbanks has collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in a field research project designed to determine the status of the diamondback, and how to prevent further population declines.
Riverbanks provided funding for the conservation of the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center at the El Nispero Zoo in Panama’s El Valle de Anton region. Located in the range of the endemic Panamanian golden frog and numerous other native amphibians, the Center serves as a repository and captive breeding center for amphibian species threatened by the spread of the chytrid fungus, a treatment center and a nature education center for Panamanians and visiting tourists. Riverbanks’ curator of herpetology attended a workshop at El Valle that was attended by many of the world’s amphibian experts with the goal of developing a plan to stem the ongoing amphibian extinction crisis.
A survey funded by the Riverbanks Conservation Support Fund to inventory plant and animals species on the site and to monitor their abundance over time.
Riverbanks provided funding to the International Rhino Foundation’s North American Save the Rhinos Campaign to promote the conservation of the world’s rhinoceros species.
Riverbanks enjoys a sister-state relationship with the state of Queensland, Australia. This relationship has resulted in a state gift of Queensland koalas that are now permanently displayed at Riverbanks’ Koala Knockabout. Riverbanks has, in turn, funded research by the University of Queensland to better understand Chlamydia’s role as a limiting factor for wild koala populations.
In 2007 Riverbanks received a grant from the South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) Power for Wildlife to restore and maintain wildlife habitat along two power line right-of-ways on the Riverbanks site. Work to date has included manual removal of all woody plants and bush hogging of sections of each right-of-way. The long-term goal is restore prairie habitat (one of the Carolina’s most endangered habitat types) on the sites. Riverbanks is pursuing partnerships for the project with the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), Clemson University’s Restoration Institute and the South Carolina Native Plant Society.