Understanding the Outcomes of Zoo Breeding and Transfer Recommendations
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plans® (SSPs) are cooperative programs that pool animals across AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to manage them as populations. SSP programs aim to maintain sustainable zoo populations, both to serve as insurance for wild populations and meet the conservation and education goals of AZA-member institutions. Toward this end, they’re coordinated by a program leader and advised by the AZA Population Management Center (PMC), a group of scientific advisors based at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Since 2000, the PMC has issued thousands of recommendations to hundreds of institutions; however there is no systematic evaluation of the recommendation outcomes. Was an animal actually transferred? Was the pair put together to breed? If a recommendation wasn’t carried out, was it because of logistical challenges, communication problems or reproductive issues with the animals themselves?
To address these questions, scientists at Lincoln Park Zoo and the PMC developed PMCTrack with a three-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. PMCTrack is a web-based database and monitoring system designed to collect feedback and evaluate the outcomes of breeding and transfer recommendations. It will provide the necessary data to make informed changes and improvements to AZA population management strategies.
PMCTrack compiles data from all previously published recommendations. This historic data indicates the baseline rates of recommendation fulfillment. As more plans are completed in the future, the resulting analyses will be used by program leaders and the PMC to improve the population-planning process. PMCTrack will pinpoint management challenges that need to be addressed with more research, track whether recommendation-fulfillment rates improve over time and help participants better understand each managed program—as well as how the AZA management system works across programs. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services LG-25-08-0063-08.
The official website for the web-based database and monitoring system designed to evaluate the outcomes of breeding and transfer recommendations made through Association of Zoos and Aquariums Animal Programs such as Species Survival Plans®.
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Animal Programs
More than 450 Animal Programs work cooperatively with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to achieve extraordinary animal management, conservation and scientific initiatives.