North Carolina Zoo isn’t just a great place for kids, it is also a learning laboratory for college students, universities, and the scientists that work at the zoo every day. With our unique variety of animal residents, the zoo is an incredible place to answer all kinds of questions. Every year, North Carolina Zoo partners with dozens of universities to help them collect data on exotic animals to address questions about welfare, health, evolution, diet, and behavior that would be difficult or impossible to study in the wild. In addition, the Zoo’s research team develops and implements original research projects focused on the health and behavior of the animals in our care. 

Recently the zoo has worked with researchers looking at everything from seabird cognition to red river hog reproduction to chimpanzee genetics. The zoo provides blood, tissue, and skeletal samples to universities studying genetics, disease, and other health factors. Students have spent weeks or months studying animal behavior or conducting cognitive studies at the zoo. Finally, keepers and other staff routinely work with the zoo’s own research team to collect data that will be used to inform our animal care practices and improve welfare. As a result, the zoo is truly a living lab for exploration and discovery. 

Student Opportunities

North Carolina Zoo offers undergraduate and graduate students the unique opportunity to participate in scientific research on Zoo grounds. 

Using Science to Inform Elephant Management

The North Carolina Zoo has teamed up with students from North Carolina State University to determine the best practices for ensuring our elephants thrive.

Learning How our Close Relatives Move

The North Carolina Zoo has teamed up with researchers from Duke University to better understand body posture changes as chimpanzees and gorillas age.