AZA Approved Non-Member Participation in SSP Programs

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AZA APPROVED NON-MEMBER SSP PARTICIPATION POLICY




Approved by the AZA Board of Directors in 2009

AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Programs focus on the conservation of select and typically threatened or endangered species populations through the cooperative management of AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums and Certified Related Facilities. These institutions undergo a thorough accreditation review process that includes the submission of an extensive application as well as a multiple day, on-site inspection, by a team of experts to ensure the highest standards of animal care and management are met.

Organizations or facilities within the United States that do not meet the definition of a zoological park or aquarium or organizations/facilities outside of the United States may be eligible to apply for approval to become a Non-Member SSP Participant according to the following criteria.

Within the United States

Organizations/facilities within the United States that do not meet the definition of a zoological park or aquarium, such as wildlife refuges, rehabilitation centers, and sanctuaries, are eligible to apply for approval to become a Non-Member SSP Program participant if:

  • The related SSP Program has determined that the organization cares for animals which provide genetic, demographic, conservation, and/or welfare benefits to their SSP Program population.
  • The organization is not open to the public on a regular schedule or predictable basis.

If these criteria are met, the organization must submit the required application and undergo a substantial inspection process, organized by the Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC) and the AZA Conservation Department before approval from the WCMC is considered.  

Outside of the United States – Non-Members of WAZA

Organizations/facilities outside of the United States that are not members of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and may or may not be open to the public on a regularly scheduled basis, are eligible to apply for approval to become a Non-Member SSP Program participant if:

  • The related SSP Program has determined that the organization cares for animals which provide genetic, demographic, conservation, and/or welfare benefits to their SSP Program population.

If this criterion is met, the organization must submit the required application and undergo a substantial inspection process, organized by the WCMC and the AZA Conservation Department, before approval from WCMC is considered.

Outside of the United States - Members of WAZA

To facilitate international cooperation with other professional zoological associations, zoos and aquariums outside of the United States that are members of WAZA are eligible to apply for approval to become a Non-Member SSP Program participant if:

  • The related SSP Program has determined that the organization cares for animals which provide genetic, demographic, conservation, and/or welfare benefits to their SSP Program population.

If this criterion is met, the zoo or aquarium is not required to submit the entire Non-Member Application or pass an on-site inspection unless required by the SSP. Instead the zoo or aquarium must submit:

  • The completed General Information section of the Non-Member Application.
  • A letter of recommendation from WAZA supporting their participation in the AZA SSP Program.

Application Process

Applicants should be familiar with fundamental AZA philosophies and all processes needed to become an Approved Non-Member Participant in an SSP Program before completing the Non-Member Participant Application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with a representative of the SSP for which the Non-Member is applying who is also an AZA trained inspector. This will help applicants assess whether their organization meets or exceeds AZA Accreditation Standards and if it is ready to undergo a full review and if applicable, inspection.