Species Survival Plan® Programs
The mission of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) cooperatively managed Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program is to oversee the population management of select species within AZA member institutions (i.e., AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, Conservation Partners, and Certified Related Facilities (CRFs)) and to enhance conservation of this species in the wild. Each SSP Program coordinates the individual activities of participating member institutions through a variety of species conservation, research, husbandry, management, and educational initiatives. Each SSP works under the supervision of a Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), which may manage multiple AZA Animal Programs within its purview. SSP Programs may work with their TAG to coordinate with other regional and international species conservation programs to lead, develop, oversee, promote, evaluate, and support the cooperative animal management, conservation, and scientific initiatives of the SSP Program.
There are currently nearly 500 SSP Programs, each managed by their corresponding Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), within AZA. Each is responsible for developing a comprehensive population Studbook and a Breeding and Transfer Plan which identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population.
Working with Ambassador SSP Species
Sustainable ambassador collections is an important mission of the AASAG. There is a great discussion occurring involving the exclusion of ambassadors from breeding programs and the re-inclusion of them into breeding pools while continuing to work as ambassadors. This is a new approach and is very exciting in the long-term sustainability of ambassadors.
More and more SSP species may be available to use as animal ambassadors with greater conversations with the program leaders.