Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Cheetah Conservation Station

The East African savanna, a dry tropical grassland, is home to a rich array of spectacular animals. Predators like lions and cheetahs prey on grazing and browsing animals like zebras and gazelles. Stately birds like kori bustards stalk smaller prey while rarely seen naked mole-rats inhabit burrows on the savanna. You can see these species and more without traveling to Africa. Just come to the Zoo or take a virtual visit.


Animals from many parts of Africa make their home at the Zoo. The Zoo's Cheetah Conservation Station is home to Grevy's zebras, a scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelles, cheetahs, Abyssinian hornbills, Ruppell’s griffon vultures, red river hogs, and a sitatunga.


Grasslands in Africa and Beyond

Africa's Sahel grassland, home to endangered scimitar-horned oryx and many other rare species, merges into the Sahara desert to the north and the savanna to the south. Mostly dry grasslands also cover southern Africa, home to cheetahs, Cape buffalo, black rhinos, and kori bustards also found in East Africa. Zoo scientists are working in all of these areas to help conserve the incredible biodiversity of Africa's grasslands.

Scimitar-horned oryx calf and adult

North America's grasslands were once home to abundant black-footed ferrets, bison, and prairie dogs. On South America's plains, seriemas and maned wolves stalk prey. Parts of Asia, such as Mongolia, home of Bactrian camels, Mongolian gazelles, and Przewalski's horses, are covered with grasslands.