Taxon Advisory Groups

The mission of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is to examine the sustainability and conservation needs of entire taxa and to develop recommendations for population management and conservation based upon the needs of the species and AZA-accredited institutions. Each TAG coordinates, facilitates, and reviews progress toward goals for its cooperative animal management and conservation programs. The TAG works under the supervision of the Animal Population Management (APM) Committee, manages the AZA Animal Programs (Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Programs and Studbooks) within its purview, and coordinates with other regional and international conservation programs to lead, develop, oversee, promote, evaluate, and support the cooperative animal management, conservation, and scientific initiatives of the TAG.


TAGs are composed of expert advisors who help to identify, manage and support AZA’s cooperative animal management programs. TAGs develop Regional Collection Plans (RCPs) that recommend taxa for cooperative management among AZA member institutions, AZA-accredited institutions, Conservation Partners, and Certified Related Facilities (CRFs), recommend Animal Program management designations, and identify Animal Program goals and essential actions. TAGs also serve as AZA experts regarding the husbandry, veterinary care, conservation needs/challenges, research priorities, ethical considerations, and other issues applicable to their taxa.

TAGs advise other zoo- and aquarium-based programs, define Animal Program goals and objectives, and identify research and conservation priorities.  TAGs also examine Animal Program management techniques based on scientific studies and assist Program Leaders (e.g., SSP Coordinators, Regional Studbook Keepers, and Candidate Program Leaders) in developing animal care and husbandry guidelines through the publication of taxa-specific Animal Care Manuals (ACMs).

All TAG functional and management processes are specified in the Taxon Advisory Group Handbook.

Regional Collection Plans

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. 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. AZA Members can search for and download Regional Collection Plans in the Animal Programs Database.

Interested in Becoming a TAG Chair?

Visit AZA's Animal Program Database and the Program Leader Vacancies page to find out which Animal Programs have positions available and how to apply!

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