The zoo’s scientific staff is committed to furthering the goals and purpose of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. In addition to its conservation and science programs, the AZA also serves as the national accrediting body for zoos and aquariums.
Species Survival Plans (SSPs) and Population Management Plans (PMPs) are cooperative management programs established by the AZA to ensure the continued genetic diversity and demographic stability of animals in captivity. This careful management ensures that zoos can meet exhibition, conservation, education and scientific goals. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in more than 45 SSPs and PMPs. Zoo staff also serve as program leaders and coordinators for species including the three-banded armadillo, sunbittern, eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, Guam rail, chimpanzee, pygmy hippopotamus and Chilean flamingo.
The AZA Population Management Center (PMC) is housed at the Lincoln Park Zoo and plays a critical role in SSP and PMP programs. A three-person full-time staff (two population biologists and a studbook analyst) assist zoo professionals across the country with conducting demographic and genetic analyses and preparing breeding and transfer plans for SSP and PMP species.
Lincoln Park Zoo has been a leader in developing record-keeping standards employed by AZA institutions. These data are essential for day-to-day management and planning of the institution’s animal collection, but they are also integral to population management. Lincoln Park Zoo employs a full-time animal records keeper and zoo staff currently maintain the official studbook (single-species database for population management) for the three-banded armadillo, sunbittern, Francois’ langur, eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, chimpanzee, pygmy hippopotamus, Bali mynah and Chilean flamingo .
Zoos staff participate in several of AZA’s scientific advisory groups related to their areas of expertise, such as the Veterinary Advisory Group and Small Population Management Advisory Group. The zoo also contributes to the AZA’s Conservation Endowment Fund, which funds conservation program worldwide.