Riverbanks’ Role

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.

Active Species Survival Plan® Participant Riverbanks actively participates in 72 SSP programs to help ensure the survival of select wildlife species in AZA zoos and aquariums.

  • Abyssinian ground hornbill
  • African elephant
  • African lion
  • American flamingo
  • Amur tiger
  • Aruba Island rattlesnake
  • Bali mynah
  • Black howler monkey
  • Blue-crowned motmot
  • Blue-faced honeyeater
  • Boat-billed heron
  • Bushmaster
  • Crested oropendola
  • Debrazza monkey
  • Eurasian eagle owl
  • Fairy bluebird
  • Galapagos tortoise
  • Gentoo penguin
  • Giant leaf-tailed gecko
  • Golden-breasted starling
  • Golden-headed lion tamarin
  • Golden-lion tamarin
  • Green tree monitor
  • Green woodhoopoe
  • Green-naped pheasant pigeon
  • Hamadryas baboon
  • Henkel’s leaf-tailed gecko
  • Hoffman’s sloth
  • Hyacinth macaw
  • Indian pygmy goose
  • Keel-billed toucan
  • King penguin
  • King vulture
  • Komodo monitor
  • Lady Ross’ turaco
  • Laughing kookaburra
  • Lined seahorse
  • Lion-tailed macaque
  • Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise
  • Marianas fruit dove
  • Masked lapwing
  • Matschie’s tree kangaroo
  • Mexican red-kneed tarantula
  • Mossy leaf-tailed gecko
  • Pancake tortoise
  • Parma wallaby
  • Plains zebra
  • Prevost’s squirrel
  • Radiated tortoise
  • Red kangaroo
  • Red-billed hornbill
  • Red-billed leiothrix
  • Red-legged seriema
  • Red-necked wallaby
  • Red-ruffed lemur
  • Reticulated giraffe
  • Ring-tailed lemur
  • Rockhopper penguin
  • Rodrigues fruit bat
  • Satanic leaf-tailed gecko
  • Siamang
  • Slender-tailed meerkat
  • Spectacled owl
  • Spotted hyena
  • Sunbittern
  • Tawny frogmouth
  • Thick-billed parrot
  • Toco toucan
  • Victoria crowned pigeon
  • Western lowland gorilla
  • White-faced saki
  • White-headed buffalo weaver

Leader in Important AZA Programs A number of Riverbanks staff members serve on leading committees within the zoo industry, helping to lead the way in conservation efforts around the globe.

  • AZA Accreditation Commission.
  • Animal Welfare Committee.
  • Early Adaptor Institution for the new Zoological Information Management Systems (ZIMS) database. Riverbanks is proud to be in the top five percent of ISIS participating institutions in data link rate.
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)/Species Survival Commission (SSC): Riverbanks staff members serve on the IUCN/SSC’s Crocodile Specialist Group, Tomistoma Task Force, Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Swan Specialist Group and Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG).
  • SSP Management Group members for the koala, elephant, Aruba Island rattlesnake, and Chinese alligator SSP Management Groups.
  • Medical Advisor for the Piciformes TAG.
  • SSP Coordinators for toco toucan, Caribbean flamingo, Nile hippo, Henkel’s leaf-tailed gecko, giant leaf-tailed gecko, mossy leaf-tailed gecko, satanic leaf-tailed gecko.
  • North American Regional Studbooks/Population Management Plans (PMPs) African lion, Nile hippo, king cobra, false gharial crocodile, fishing cat, fishing cat, lined leaf-tailed gecko, spiny leaf-tailed gecko, spear-pointed leaf-tailed gecko and Pan’s box turtle.
  • Steering Committee members for the marine fishes, waterfowl, raptor, penguin, marsupial & monotreme, crocodilian, amphibian, lizard, ape, wild pig & peccary TAGs.

Conservation Award Winner Since opening in 1974, Riverbanks Zoo has demonstrated a strong commitment to conservation and has received numerous awards for its ongoing efforts.

  • 2012 — AZA International Conservation Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ support of the Grevy’s Zebra Trust.
  • 2012 — Wildlife Conservation Award — by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation.
  • 2012 — Earth Day Award — for the Riverbanks comPOOst program by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
  • 2011 — Edward H. Bean Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ efforts in the long-term propagation and conservation of the Bali mynah.
  • 2010 — Edward H. Bean Significant Achievement Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ efforts in the long-term propagation and conservation of black-footed cats.
  • 2007 — John Behler Scholarship — for herpetology keeper to attend the AZA Crocodilian Management School.
  • 2005 — Edward H. Bean Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ efforts in the long-term propagation and captive husbandry of Malagasy leaf-tailed geckos.
  • 2004 — Conservation Education Award — in honor of Riverbanks’ Helping Hands - Teens in Action in the Community program.
  • 2003 — International Conservation Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ support of a bat conservation educator on Mauritius.
  • 2002 — International Conservation Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ support of tree kangaroo conservation in Papua New Guinea.
  • 2002 — Exhibits Significant Achievement Award — for the Riverbanks Avian Program (Bird Conservation Center, Birdhouse at Riverbanks and outdoor aviaries).
  • 1998 — Edward H. Bean Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ long-term success with the captive breeding of Ramphastids (toucans, toucanettes and aracaris).
  • 1986 — Silver Propagation certificate — in appreciation of Riverbanks’ outstanding success with the captive breeding of the black howler monkey.
  • 1983 — AZA Significant Achievement Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ ground cuscus breeding program.
  • 1981 — Edward H. Bean Award — presented to Riverbanks in honor of outstanding success with the captive breeding of the black howler monkey.
  • 1981 — AZA Significant Achievement Award — recognizing Riverbanks’ pioneering efforts in captive breeding of the white-faced saki.
  • 1977 — AZA Significant Achievement Award — acknowledging Riverbanks for the first captive breeding of the Toco toucan.

Contributor to Significant Projects Riverbanks remains a leader and active participant in a wide variety of conservation programs.

BB&T Medical Clinic for Raptors and Endangered Species

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.

Learn more about Riverbanks’ BB&T Medical Clinic.

Fort Gordon Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

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.

Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve Faunal Survey

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.

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake

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.

El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center

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.

Faunal surveys of the Riverbanks Site

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.

International Rhino Foundation’s (IRF) Save the Rhino Campagin

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.

Koala Chlamydia Research

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.

Power for Wildlife Restoration of Power Line Right-of-Ways

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.