Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



In Search of Animals

Sidebar: Vital Vendors

In terms of sheer number of animals, the largest part of the Zoo, by far, is the Invertebrate Exhibit. Some of its spineless wonders—cuttlefish, water bugs, ants, spiders, anemones, and corals—breed well in zoos and aquariums. Others are obtained from vendors around the globe.

“We have extremely close relationships with our vendors,” explains invertebrates specialist Tamie DeWitt. “Before a vendor can be approved, it must have three letters of recommendation along with proper certification.” Potential vendors must also demonstrate that they use sustainable practices while gathering specimens from nature.

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Smithsonian Zoogoer 41(1) 2012. Copyright 2012 Friends of the National Zoo. All rights reserved.