Prior to moving here in the early 1990s, Rick Schwartz operated four businesses in North Carolina, including endangered exotic animal species breeding facility.
Since then, the unassuming Nashville Zoo executive director has established himself as a major player within the nation’s zoo and aquarium industry. For example, Schwartz’s efforts overseeing his team’s breeding of clouded leopards and giant anteaters have garnered significant attention.
“We maintain the most genetically valuable animals for both clouded leopards and giant anteaters in North America,” he says. “For the last two years, we have produced more clouded leopards than all the world’s zoos combined.”
Similarly, Schwartz says the zoo five breeding female giant anteaters all gave birth to healthy babies last year.
“Our keeper and veterinary staff’s dedication and skill are truly amazing,” he says.
In addition, Schwartz says, zoo staff members conduct non-invasive research so that they can learn more about the two species and share that knowledge with other institutions to “ensure genetically sustainable populations.”
Last year saw about 776,000 people visit the exot