Taxon Advisory Groups

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Taxon Advisory Groups

The mission of an AZA Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is to examine the conservation needs of an entire taxa, and to develop recommendations for population management and conservation based upon the needs of the species and AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums, Certified Related Facilities, and Sustainability Partners. TAGs are responsible for developing an action plan that identifies essential goals, scientific investigations, and conservation initiatives needed to best serve ex situ and in situ populations.

Each TAG is also responsible for developing a Regional Collection Plan (RCP) that specifies the optimal manner in which the ex situ populations should be managed. AZA Members can search for and download Regional Collection Plans in the Animal Programs Database.

TAGs are managed by the Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee which is responsible for communicating with Program Leaders and Institutional Representatives and also for managing the Studbooks and Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Programs under their purview.


Each TAG is composed of a Steering Committee, elected from AZA members, and several expert Advisors. All TAG functional and management processes are specified in the Taxon Advisory Group Handbook, however primary functions include:

  • The development of an Action Plan.
  • The development of a RCP.
  • Serving as an AZA expert and providing a discussion forum for topics applicable to the taxa under its purview.
  • Assisting in the selection of appropriate species for AZA Conservation and Education Programs.
  • Establishing management, research, and conservation priorities.
  • Advancement of animal management techniques based on scientific studies.
  • Oversight of SSP and Studbook Programs.
  • Serving a specific role in conflict resolution issues that arise.
  • The development of a taxon-specific Animal Care Manual.
  • If the TAG has an AZA Dedicated Funds account, they are eligible to participate in the TAGMart at the AZA Annual Conference.

Action Plans

A TAG Action Plan identifies high priority areas of research and conservation needed for the species identified under its purview including animal health, contraception, genetics, genome resource banking, in situ and ex situ conservation, nutrition, assisted reproduction, education, and any other relevant topics, sets goals and objectives to address these priorities, and a schedule of completion for each. 

Regional Collection Plans

A TAG RCP identifies a list of species recommended for management in AZA-accredited institutions, the level at which each should be managed, detailed explanations for how those recommendations were developed, and an evaluation of how much space is needed for each species at each institution. The TAG collaborates with Program Leaders from each AZA-accredited institution to ensure that AZA’s, each institution’s and the Action Plan’s animal management and conservation goals are accomplished.

Interested in Becoming an TAG Chair?

Visit AZA’s Animal Program Database to find out which Animal Programs have positions available and how to apply!