Animal Programs

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Animal Programs

AZA’s Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC)  manages over 500 cooperative Animal Programs, including Taxon Advisory Groups, Species Survival Plan® Programs and Studbook Programs. These Animal Programs, in coordination with significant contributions from AZA Scientific Advisory Groups, Institutional Liaisons and Institutional Representatives are responsible for the extraordinary leadership, development, oversight, promotion, evaluation and support of AZA’s cooperative animal management, conservation, and scientific initiatives. Management tools, databases, reference materials, policies, and management plans have been developed to facilitate exceptional Animal Program collaboration within and amongst AZA-accredited institutions. 

Animal Programs Database

  • Search for contact information for all Program participants, including Program Leaders, Officers, and Advisors
  • View the relationships between related Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), Species Survival Plan (SSP) Programs, and Studbooks, as well as the individual species covered by these Animal Programs
  • Download Institutional Representative (IR) lists for each TAG and SSP Program
  • Save copies of Animal Program documents including Breeding and Transfer Plans, Studbooks, and Animal Care Manuals (ACMs).

Go to the Animal Programs Database

Taxon Advisory Groups

An AZA Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) examines the conservation needs of an entire taxa and develops recommendations for population management and conservation based upon the needs of the species and those of AZA-accredited institutions. TAGs develop an action plan that identifies essential goals, scientific investigations, and conservation initiatives needed to best serve ex situ and in situ populations and a Regional Collection Plan that specifies the optimal manner in which the ex situ populations should be managed.  Read more about Taxon Advisory Groups.

Species Survival Plan® Programs

An AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program strives to manage and conserve a select and typically threatened or endangered, ex situ species population with the cooperation of AZA-accredited institutions. SSP Programs develop a Breeding and Transfer Plan that identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population.  Read more about Species Survival Plans® Programs.

AZA Regional Studbooks

An AZA Regional Studbook dynamically documents the pedigree and entire demographic history of each individual in a population of species. Studbooks are invaluable tools that track and manage each individual cared for in AZA-accredited institutions.  Read more about Studbooks.

Institutional Liaisons

The Institutional Liaison (IL) for each AZA-accredited institution appoints and oversees all Institutional Representatives (IRs) within the institution and ensures that there is effective communication and participation between the institution and AZA’s Animal Programs. The IL works with Program Leaders and IRs to ensure that the institution fully participates in all associated SSP Programs, and if necessary, will participate in conflict resolution processes.  Read more about Institutional Liaisons.

Institutional Representatives

The Institutional Representative (IR) serves as the primary contact between their AZA-accredited institution and their associated Animal Program. It is assumed that all decisions/votes made by the IR are approved by the IL and that the IR will work with Program Leaders to ensure that their institution fully participates in all associated SSP Programs, and if necessary, will participate in conflict resolution processes. Read more about Institutional Representatives.

Education Advisors

 The Education Advisor provides guidance to an Animal Program as to how they can implement educational goals.  Read more about Education Advisors or see a list of current vacancies.   

Scientific Advisory Groups

An AZA Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) enhances ex situ animal care and management strategies and augments regional and international in situ conservation initiatives by persistently expanding their scientific reach and initiatives. SAGs have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the long-term conservation of global biodiversity. Read more about Scientific Advisory Groups.

Dedicated Funds

AZA Animal Programs are eligible to manage fiscal resources to support their Program objectives. An AZA Dedicated Funds account is designed to hold and distribute monies raised specifically to support projects initiated or coordinated by an AZA Animal Program. Read more about Dedicated Funds.