• Radiated Tortoise

    Astrochelys radiata Order: Testudines Family: Testudinidae Radiated tortoises are the closest living relative of the Ploughshare tortoises, the most endangered tortoises in the world. Overview This striking species gives the

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  • Florida Kingsnake

    Latin Name: Lampropeltis getula floridiana Order: Squamata Family: Colubridae Considered an unofficial subspecies of kingsnake Overview Capron Park Zoo has been using a Florida Kingsnake as an Animal Ambassador for

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  • Eurasian Eagle Owl

    Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae (typical owls) This species is the largest of the Eagle Owls, and largest owl in the world.  Overview This impressive bird

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  • Moon Crab

    Moon Crab  Latin Name Gecarcinus quadratus Order: Decapoda Family: Gecarcinidae The common name “moon crab” is sometimes used for other Gecarcinus species or crabs in the genus Cardisoma. G. quadratus

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  • Ring-necked Pheasant

    With plenty of topics to address during programs and a flashy appearance, the Ring-necked Pheasant can be a good addition to an education team. Staff does need to consider lack of motivation during breeding season when planning out program needs.

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  • Laughing Kookaburra

    Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae Order: Coraciiformes Family: Alcedinidae  Overview Laughing kookaburras are the largest member of the kingfisher family and are a dynamic species that can be presented in a

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  • Patagonian Cavy

    As with any species, variation in individual temperament must be taken into account when selecting ambassador animals. However, when desensitized to humans at an early age, these large, charismatic rodents can be excellent program animals. They have many interesting adaptations and teaching facts that can be tied to conservation messaging; and they are generally food motivated, which allows for positive, choice-based presentations.

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  • Turkey Vulture

    Cathartes aura Order: Accipitriformes Family: Cathartidae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Turkey vultures can be acquired from rehab and rescue centers. With good training,

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  • Poison dart frogs (Green & Black)

    Poison Dart Frogs (Green & Black) Dendrobates auratus         Order:    Anura        Family: Dendrobatidae Overview Green and Black poison dart frogs are relatively easy to care for and have

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  • Red-tailed Hawk

    Buteo jamaicensis Order: Accipitriformes Family: Accipitridae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Red-tails can be acquired from rehab and rescue centers. Parent reared birds can

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The mission of the Ambassador Animal Scientific Advisory Group (AASAG) is to develop cooperative relationships between the education, research, and animal welfare interests of the zoo and aquarium community around the topic of ambassador animals (a.k.a. program animals).

AARIC Species Pages

The Ambassador Animal Species Pages is the most robust tool produced by the AASAG. These pages are edited by zoological professionals and institutions with a wealth of experience working with Ambassador Animals. You'll find in these pages management, care, and presentation information for a variety of species used as ambassadors all over the AZA.

Latest Mammals Updated

Tamandua (lesser anteater)

Southern Tamandua Latin Name: Tamandua tetradactyla Order: Pilosa Family: Myrmecophagidae Southern tamandua are also known as lesser anteaters (based on a comparison to Giant Anteaters)

Latest Birds Updated

North American Kestrel

Falco sparverius Order: Falconiformes Family: Falconidae Overview Males are easily distinguished from females by their size (males are smaller) and their slate blue wings (females

Winter 2021

Download Winter 2021 (01-11-2021) newsletter This issue includes: AASAG Committee Updates AASAG Communications Committee Update: 2020 Ambassador Animal Collections Survey Results AASAG Best Practices Initiative

Budgie (Budgerigar)

Budgie (Budgerigar) Latin Name: Melopsittacus undulatus Order: Psittaciformes Family: Psittacidae Overview  Budgies are a charismatic ambassador species due to their outgoing nature. They can be kept

Tawny Frogmouth

Podargus strigoides Order: Caprimulgiformes Family: Podargidae Overview Tawny frogmouths are unusual, charismatic birds that will engage the audience at first sight.  Though common throughout most

Recently updated herps

Prehensile-tailed Skink

The Prehensile tailed(PT) skink has many adaptations to discuss with visitors about their arboreal lifestyle. However, some individuals might have aggressive tendencies around their enclosure or breeding season. Presenting them on a perch can minimize those interactions. Limited breeding in captivity can impact availability of ambassadors.


Salamanders Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) Toads American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) Colorado River Toad Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina orientalis) Marine Toad (Rhinella marina) Mexican Spadefoot Toad Puerto

Latest Inverts & Aquatics Updated

Emperor Scorpion

Pandinus imperator Order: Scorpiones Family: Scorpionidae Overview This species is commonly found in education collections. Because of their impressive size, Emperor scorpions are known for

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Gromphadorhina portentosa Order: Blattodea Family: Blaberidae Overview A fantastic, easy program animal for any handler. So many different educational messages. And kids of all ages

Latest AASAG Newsletters

Winter 2021

Download Winter 2021 (01-11-2021) newsletter This issue includes: AASAG Committee Updates AASAG Communications Committee Update: 2020 Ambassador Animal Collections Survey Results AASAG Best Practices Initiative

Fall 2020

Download Fall 2021 (09-28-2020) newsletter This issue includes: Articles AMBASSADORS IN ACTION: A Giant Rabbit with a Giant Notion (Domestic Rabbit) SHOW AND TAIL: Extreme

summer 2020

Download Summer 2020 (07-08-2020) newsletter This issue includes: COVID-19 Special Articles Our 2-Team Approach During COVID-19 Taking Care of Program Animals Without Programs Moving Our

spring 2020

Download Spring 2020 (04-17-2020) newsletter This issue includes: Ambassador Animal Acquisition AMBASSADORS IN ACTION: Individualization in our Ambassador Animals: A Goat isn’t Just a Goat