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The N.C. Zoo is one of only two state-operated zoos in the country. While more than 60 percent of its operating budget comes from the state, all of its conservation, research and education programs — and even the animals exhibited at the park — are purchased with private funds raised by the North Carolina Zoological Society.

Karen Brown with the Zoo Society says the “Adopt an Animal” program features a list of animals that can be “adopted” for a year.

Those who “adopt” an animal get a certificate, a photo of the animal and a fact sheet about the species.

Funds raised through the program benefit the Zoo’s Animal Enrichment Program, which allows the Zoo to pay for additional training for zookeepers as well as purchase treats for the animals.

Some of the most popular animals for “adoption” are the African elephant, the polar bear, the zebra, the giraffe and the chimpanzee.

For more information about “adopting” zoo animals, visit or call the Zoo Society at (336) 879-7250.