Institutional Representatives

« Back to Animal Programs


Institutional Representatives

The Institutional Representative (IR) is appointed by their Institutional Liaison (IL) and serves to maintain effective communication and serve as the primary contact between their AZA-accredited institution and their associated Animal Program (Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) or Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program.

Only one IR may represent the institution within each Animal Program; however one individual may serve as the IR for multiple Animal Programs. 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 Species Survival Plan® Programs, and if necessary, will participate in conflict resolution processes.

Log in to the Animal Programs Database to download the current IR list.

Requirements for Eligibility

Details about requirements for eligibility to serve as an IR are specified in the Program Leader Handbooks, however IRs must:

  • be a full-time employee at an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium or Certified Related Facility.
  • be designated by the IL of his/her institution. 
  • if serving as an SSP Coordinator, TAG Chair, or PMP Manager, also serve as the IR for that Animal Program.
  • have the ability to make animal management decisions.


Details about IR functions and management processes are specified in the Program Leader Handbooks, however primary functions include:

  • ensuring that the AZA Board-approved Policy for Full Participation in the Species Survival Plan® Program is followed, if the IR represents an SSP Program.
  • ensuring all deadlines, including those for the completion of space surveys and the review of Animal Program Drafts for TAG Regional Collection Plans, SSP Master Plans, and PMPs, are met.
  • participating in AZA Animal Program meetings, conferences, and Professional Training classes.
  • responding to Program Leaders and ILs in a timely manner.
  • communicating with, responding to, and disseminating information between the AZA Animal Program, Program Leaders, and Staff as well as the Institution Director and IL, in a timely manner.
  • voting in Steering Committee/Management Group elections.