Regional Collection Plans

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Regional Collection Plans

The primary responsibility of an AZA Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is the development of a Regional Collection Plan (RCP). RCPs describe a list of species recommended for management in AZA zoos and aquariums, the level at which those species should be managed, detailed explanations for how those recommendations were developed, and an evaluation of how much space should be dedicated to each.

TAGs develop RCPs to help AZA-accredited institutions plan their individual collections and select species that ensure their own and the Association’s animal management and conservation goals are accomplished. Institutions that use RCPs to guide their institutional collection planning processes benefit from the TAGs’ comprehensive taxonomic review.

RCPs assist institutions by providing access to a larger body of expertise gained by colleagues in the zoological field, thereby helping assure that the taxa selected are more likely to be available for their long term display, conservation, education, and research objectives.

Development and Publication Procedures

TAG Chairs oversee the development of the RCP and work with the TAG Steering Committee, Institutional Representatives (IRs), Institutional Liaisons (ILs), and Advisors. Before they are finalized, RCPs must be evaluated and approved by the AZA Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC). Once the WCMC has approved a TAG's RCP, it is ready for publication and distribution to all AZA institutions. Visit the Animal Programs Database to access RCPs.

Required Elements
WCMC members evaluate each of the following elements as they review RCPs for Committee approval:

  • TAG mission statement
  • List of all taxa and their conservation status within the TAG's purview
  • Space assessment
  • Selection criteria
  • Sustainability criteria
  • Management level recommendations
  • Recommended taxa function
  • Target population sizes

The full RCP Manual can be downloaded from the Animal Program Handbooks page.

Management Levels
The TAG must integrate results from the space analysis and application of the Sustainability Criteria to develop RCP management recommendations for each selected taxa. Population management levels include Species Survival Plan (SSP) Programs and Studbooks.