Advancing the science behind animal program sustainability: An overview of the special issue

Over the last ten years, zoos and aquariums around the world have been coming to grips with the “sustainability crisis” – the realization that most of our collaboratively managed animal populations are not viable for the long-term. Many initiatives have been launched at the regional, zoological association, program, and institutional levels to improve the long-term […]

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 […]

Reproductive Viability Analysis (RVA) as a new tool for ex situ population management

Many animal populations managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plans® (SSPs) have low rates of reproductive success. It is critical that individuals recommended to breed are successful to achieve genetic and demographic goals set by the SSP. Identifying factors that impact reproductive success can inform managers on best practices and […]

Patterns in the long-term viability of North American zoo populations

Recent concerns about the viability of zoo populations have motivated studies on the historic and current status of animal populations in North American and European zoos. However, these evaluations may not accurately reflect the populations’ long-term viability in the decades to come. Here, we assessed the projected future status of North American zoo populations by […]

Collection planning for the next 100 years: What will we commit to save in zoos and aquariums?

The “sustainability crisis” in zoos and aquariums has been a sobering reminder of how limited our resources are for maintaining viable populations of species threatened with extinction. This, combined with increasing concern among the public about the value of zoos and aquariums, suggests that the zoological profession should engage in a thorough re-examination of our […]

Opportunities for Public Aquariums to Increase the Sustainability of the Aquatic Animal Trade

The global aquatic pet trade encompasses a wide diversity of freshwater and marine organisms. While relying on a continual supply of healthy, vibrant aquatic animals, few sustainability initiatives exist within this sector. Public aquariums overlap this industry by acquiring many of the same species through the same sources. End users are also similar, as many […]

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 […]

The science of animal welfare and its relevance to whales

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“Use it or lose it”: Characterization, implications, and mitigation of female infertility in captive wildlife

Zoos and other ex situ wildlife institutions can play an important role in species conservation by maintaining populations for education and research, as sources for potential re-introduction or reinforcement, and as ambassadors for financial support of in situ conservation. However, many regional zoo associations are realizing that current captive populations are unsustainable, with many programs […]

Animal welfare towards sustainability in pork meat production

Animal welfare is an important pillar of sustainability in meat production and is associated with other aspects of this concept, such as animal health, productivity, food safety, food quality and efficiency from a cost of production perspective. These interactions are present at all stages of the production cycle, from the beginning of the animals’ farm […]