Challenges and solutions: An analysis of community-reported needs of AZA collaboratively managed animal populations

Zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) cooperatively manage Species Survival Plan(R) (SSP) Program populations to maximize genetic and demographic health and work toward long-term population sustainability. However, recent analyses suggest that only a minority of populations were projected to maintain their sustainability goals over 100 years. As one of […]

Use of molecular data in zoo and aquarium collection management: Benefits, challenges, and best practices

The global zoo and aquarium community widely recognizes that its animal collections and cooperative breeding programs are facing a sustainability crisis. It has become commonly accepted that numerous priority species cannot be maintained unless new management strategies are adopted. While molecular data have the potential to greatly improve management across a range of scenarios, they […]

The importance of permits for effective population management

The global management of animal populations to ensure sustainability depends on inter-regional transfers of animals in many cases. Regulatory and permitting requirements can be significant challenges to effective population management. This brief communication lays out practice advice for easing the regulatory burden and facilitating successful permitting. Advice is provided on meeting enhancement requirements at the […]

How many founders, how large a population?

Abstract The number of population founders and the size of the population are two important variables in determining how much gene diversity can be retained in a population. A model is developed to determine the most cost-effective balance of those two variables, based on comparing the marginal costs of increasing the number of founders vs. […]

Extinction risk assessment for the species survival plan (SSP®) population of the Bali mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi)

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20228.abs The Bali mynah Species Survival Plan (SSP®), an Association of Zoos and Aquariums program, strives to maintain the genetic and demographic health of its population, avoid unplanned changes in size, and minimize the risk of population extinction. The SSP population meets current demographic and genetic objectives with a population size of 209 birds […]

One year later: evaluation of PMC-recommended births and transfers

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20100.abs To meet their exhibition, conservation, education, and scientific goals, members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) collaborate to manage their living collections as single species populations. These cooperative population management programs, Species Survival Plans® (SSP) and Population Management Plans (PMP), issue specimen-by-specimen recommendations aimed at perpetuating captive populations by maintaining genetic […]

Disease risk and inter-institutional transfer of specimens in cooperative breeding programs: Herpes and the elephant species survival plans

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1009.abs Managers of cooperative breeding programs and re-introduction projects are increasingly concerned with the risk of disease transmission when specimens are transferred among facilities or between facilities and the natural environment. We used data maintained in North American studbooks to estimate the potential risks of disease transmission by direct and indirect contact of specimens […]

The effects of immunocontraception on harem fidelity in a feral horse (Equus caballus) population

Feral horses on Shackleford Banks Island, North Carolina, are managed by the National Park Service in order to reduce their impact on the fragile barrier island ecosystem. Management techniques include removal of young horses and immunocontraception of many of the mares using Porcine Zona Pellucida immunocontraceptive. This immunocontraceptive reduces the number of horses that need […]

Measuring Animal Personality for Use in Population Management in Zoos: Suggested Methods and Rationale

The concept that animals have personalities is gaining traction in the scientific community and is well established in zoos and aquariums. Applying knowledge of animal personalities has occurred more slowly and is most often only considered informally. However, animal personalities are likely to affect the welfare animals experience in captivity and thus should be of […]

Achieving True Sustainability of Zoo Populations

For the last 30 years, cooperative management of irreplaceable animal populations in zoos and aquariums has focused primarily on the goal of minimizing genetic decay within defined time frames, and large advances have been made in technologies to optimize genetic management of closed populations. However, recent analyses have shown that most zoo programs are not […]