SSP Sustainability Award

The AZA has established an award to recognize and celebrate the successes of Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Programs. The AZA SSP Sustainability Award will recognize initiatives that have a quantifiable impact on the long-term sustainability of an SSP’s managed population. Animal Program Leaders (i.e., TAG Chairs, SSP Coordinators, Studbook Keepers, and Scientific Advisory Group Chairs) may submit an application for this award that demonstrates how their significant and innovative efforts have resulted in a significant increase in an SSP population’s sustainability.

Award decisions will be based on the following criteria:

  • The level of effort described that has resulted in significantly improving the SSP population’s sustainability.
    • Examples of initiatives may include innovative actions, advances in husbandry/management, major financial investment, significant animal importations, collaborative research, and the establishment of critical partnerships.
  • The quantifiable impact that has occurred which demonstrates an increase in the SSP population’s sustainability.
  • How any resulting forward actions were made accessible to all appropriate institutions in an effective and timely manner.
  • How this initiative advances AZA TAG recommendations for that SSP population’s sustainability.

The award will recognize the SSP Program as well as contributing Animal Program(s) on a perpetual plaque in the AZA office. The AZA Animal Population Management (APM) Committee will review applications and present the awards at AZA’s Mid-Year Meeting. More than one award may be presented in any given year.

How to Submit an Application

2023 application materials are due on December 20, 2022.
Past recipients' application materials are available below. 

(2022) Download the SSP Sustainability Award application (DOC)
Guidelines for Submission (PDF)
Sustainability Award News Release Form (DOC)

SSP Sustainability Award Recipients

See past recipients' application materials (member login required)


Blue-throated Macaw SSP


Vietnam Pheasant SSP


African Penguin SSP
Blue-crowned Laughingthrush SSP


Henkel's Leaf-tailed Gecko SSP

The 2019 winner was announced by Stacey Johnson, Chair of the Animal Population Management Committee, at the Mid-Year Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on April 17, 2019.


Lion SSP

The 2018 winner was announced by Larry Killmar, Chair of the Wildlife Conservation Management Committee, at the Mid-Year Meeting in Jacksonville, FL on March 28, 2018.


Blue-billed Curassow SSP
Tawny Frogmouth SSP

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