AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their massive audiences to save species.

Resources for SAFE Species Programs

Thank you for your leadership in saving animals from extinction! Find more information and templates for reports in the SAFE Program Handbook.

Communicate achievements, fundraisers, campaigns, focus day materials, and more on the AZA Network! Log in and join the SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction community.

Are you working on your program plan? Find examples of other plans on the SAFE Species webpage, and review the SAFE Program Plan Review Checklist in the SAFE Program Handbook. Submit your program plan to

  1. Accepted!

    Congratulations! Your SAFE program proposal was accepted! You will be assigned a WCC liaison to help in the process. It’s important to become familiar with the SAFE Species Program Handbook. 

    Program Resources:
    SAFE Program Handbook

  2. Convene and Develop

    Your proposal was accepted, and now it is time to get to work. Your 3-Year Program Plan is due 6 months from your acceptance date. Do you have everyone on your team needed to develop your program plan? Now is the time to finalize your steering committee, enlist new program partners, and recruit collaborators. You may also want to consider setting up a dedicated funds account to help track donations, grant awards, and fund distribution for projects needed to reach your program goal.  Monthly calls and in-person planning or stakeholder meetings can be helpful in the program plan development process. 

    Program Resources:
    Program Partner Letter of Institutional Support
    Dedicated Funds Account Form
    SAFE Program Handbook

  3. Submit Plan

    Congratulations! Your team has completed the final draft of your SAFE Program Plan, now what? Submit your program plan to your WCC liaison and copy AZA SAFE at Your WCC liaison will coordinate the review process which takes about 6 weeks to complete. Your plan will be sent to the Conservation Education, Marketing, Public Relations, Wildlife Conservation and other committees (as needed) for review. During this time, you may receive questions from your WCC liaison to help reviewers through the process.

    Program Resources:
    SAFE Program Handbook

  4. Implement

    Your Program Plan has been accepted and now it’s time to implement! Your objectives and actions outlined in your plan help to steer decision-making and allocation of resources over the next three years. During this time, it’s expected that your program will grow in program partner and collaborator numbers. If at any point you have questions, please reach out to your WCC liaison or the AZA SAFE Coordinator. 

  5. Meet

    Your team is encouraged to meet at least once in person annually. To help engage more members of the AZA community, participation in report-out sessions at the AZA Mid-Year and Annual Conferences is encouraged. 

    Program Resources:
    Conferences & Meetings
    SAFE Program Handbook

  6. Report

    We want to help track your progress and share your stories! Semi-annual reports should be submitted to AZA and your SAFE WCC liaison before the Mid-Year Meeting (February 15- Mid-Year Report) and Annual Conference (August 10- Annual Report). These reports are used to keep communication flowing, address challenges that arise, and provide content that can be shared and amplified over AZA media platforms.

    Program Resources:
    SAFE Mid-Year Report Template
    SAFE Annual Report Template
    SAFE Program Handbook

Mark Your Calendars!

What does the structure of a SAFE program look like?

There are three “groups” responsible for the success of the SAFE program: The SAFE Species Program, Wildlife Conservation Committee, and AZA. SAFE species programs develop and implement three-year program plans for species recovery, the WCC manages and administers SAFE, and AZA supports the WCC, engages members in SAFE species program, and tracks measures of success for the SAFE program. Each group’s main point of contact is responsible for ensuring the flow of communication that helps disseminate updates and opportunities for involvement in SAFE species programs.Image of graphic representation of AZA SAFE Organizational structure

What are the requirements for a Program Plan?

The following sections should be included in your program plan. See the SAFE Program Handbook for details on each section. 

  • Background
  • Species Program Goal (should be specific and measurable over three years)
  • Program Operational Structure (steering committees should be diverse and representative of the objectives the plan hopes to accomplish)
  • Conservation Target
  • Status of Taxon within the AZA Community
    • AZA Conservation Activities
    • AZA Public Engagement Activities
  • Conservation Status of Taxa
    • Recovery Plan
    • Threats
    • Objectives (use SMART principles – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)
    • Conservation
    • User/Stakeholder engagement
    • Public Awareness/Communication
    • Funding
  • Actions (for each of the stated objectives)

Take Action

Join Us

Join Today

Propose a SAFE Species

Propose A Species

Dig Into The Details

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