An AZA Studbook dynamically documents the pedigree and entire demographic history of each individual in a population of species. These collective histories are known as the population's genetic and demographic identity and are invaluable tools that track and manage each individual cared for in AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, Certified Related Facilities and by Approved Non-Member Participants as part of a single ex situ population. There are currently over 30 International Studbooks that AZA Studbook Keepers are responsible for keeping and coordinating with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) as well as over 450 AZA Regional Studbooks.
Each AZA Studbook is managed by its corresponding Animal Program, and is in turn, responsible for maintaining excellent communication with Program Leaders and Institutional Representatives (IRs).
AZA members can search the Animal Program Database for contact information and download Studbooks and other Program information.
Each Studbook is maintained by a Studbook Keeper, appointed by its corresponding TAG or SSP. All Studbook functional and management processes are specified in the Studbook Keeper Handbook, however primary functions include:
- The creation/maintenance of a current Studbook developed in coordination with the Population Management Center (PMC).
- Presenting general biology and species ecology data.
- Presenting status and distribution information about the in situ populations.
- The development of a bibliography of relevant publications.
- Monitoring and documenting all ex situ births, death, and transfer information.
- Maintaining an accurate database that allows detailed genetic and demographic analyses.
- Recommending breeding decisions to enhance genetic diversity.
- Assessing the population status (e.g. stable, increasing, or decreasing).
Studbook Keepers may serve as the SSP Coordinator for SSP Program species, but this is not a requirement. Individuals interested in becoming a Studbook Keeper must be a current AZA member, be employed by and receive support from an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium, Certified Related Facilities, or by an Approved Non-Member participant, and must complete the Population Management 1 Professional Training course within two years of appointment.
New Studbook Keepers will work closely with their corresponding SSP Coordinator or TAG to become accustomed to their responsibilities. Becoming a Studbook Keeper is an excellent opportunity to gain a vast amount of knowledge about a particular species, develop professional relationships with Program Leaders from each AZA-accredited institution, and become familiar with the management structure of TAGs and the Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC).
Interested in Becoming a Studbook Keeper?
Search the Animal Program Database to find out which Animal Programs have vacancies. The Animal Program Handbooks include a description of the scope of responsibilities and include an application.