Global Species Management Plans

The AZA and other World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) member regional zoological associations have collectively identified addressing the sustainability of animal populations as a top priority.  Thus, we seek to maximize the collective impact of our efforts in building the long‐term sustainability of wildlife populations by working together in a manner that builds upon, respects, and optimizes existing regional processes and furthers science‐based, inter‐regional collaboration.  For some Animal Programs forming an official WAZA Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) may be appropriate.  The WAZA Committee for Population Management (CPM) is established to advance these relationships and collaborations in professionally managing species in zoos and aquariums globally. One way in which the CPM does this is through coordinating, administering, and overseeing GSMPs.

  • When population goals cannot be met within a single regional association, global management may be an ideal method for increasing sustainability. 
  • Establishing a GSMP provides an opportunity to combine several regional populations, thus improving the genetic and demographic management potential by increasing the population’s size, carrying capacity, and other resources. For certain populations, these additional resources may markedly increase their long-term management success and sustainability.
  • Once approved by the CPM, a GSMP formalizes a series of clear goals and agreements to which the GSMP partners agree or aspire to achieve, with an underlying goal of increasing the long‐term sustainability of zoo and aquarium populations.
  • Cooperation in a GSMP may range from a series of aspirations to a formal Memorandum of Understanding on specific goals and commitments. The partners (e.g., the regional associations) determine the appropriate level (e.g., individual, regional) at which to manage the population, as well as define the scope and flexibility of the GSMP. 

The WAZA regional associations continue to advance best practices aimed at increasing effective communications for building population sustainability. Over the past few years a small number of pilot GSMPs have served as guides for developing a common framework for defining the mechanisms and management of GSMPs. AZA has made a commitment to take a strong leadership role for pilot and future GSMPs, and will be deeply involved in the development of the GSMP Program and working integrally with all partners.

More information can be found in the GSMP Resource Manual.


Find a Zoo or Aquarium Donate to AZA Contact Us Member Login Search the site