Zoo Family Planning
Lincoln Park Zoo is always happy to celebrate new arrivals. As we’ve seen with baby rhino King or the tiny dwarf mongoose in the video below, zoo babies are hard to top when it comes to fostering a connection between people and wildlife.
At the same time, new arrivals bring with them a profound responsibility. We have to be able to care for them at birth and infancy. We also have to have space available for them as they grow, mature and move on to adulthood.
Zoos throughout North America work together in planning new arrivals and ensuring we have space to house them throughout their natural lives. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Population Management Center, headquartered at Lincoln Park Zoo, is the nerve center for this vital planning.
Biologists at the Population Management Center work with hundreds of species every year, many of which are managed through Species Survival Plans®. Our scientists review all the family trees in a zoo population to make the best genetic matches for breeding. They calculate how many babies are necessary to ensure zoo populations have a healthy range of ages. When necessary, they recommend transfers for animals in zoos and aquariums throughout North America—for breeding purposes, yes, but also to ensure each animal is in a setting where it can thrive.
Our experts are offering an inside look at their work with tonight’s Wine & Wildlife: The Science Behind Zoo Sex. Vice President of Conservation & Science Lisa Faust, Ph.D., and Population Management Center Director Sarah Long will share how zoos take the long view in managing their populations.
As zoos no longer take animals from the wild—except in rare circumstances, typically the rescue of injured animals or orphans—careful planning is essential to keep populations healthy. But our scientists are up to the task, and they continue to develop new ways to safeguard the future.
Everyone enjoys zoo babies. But a lot of work goes into their arrival—not just from mom, and the caregivers but on the planning side as well.
Zoo FAQ: How Are the Animals Paired Up?
Post from the President—Not to Be Dwarfed