A Program to Track and Manage Animal Data

PopLink is a computer program designed to be used in the management and analysis of studbook databases. A studbook is an electronic record of the history of a captive population. It includes information on every individual in a population, including pedigrees and dates of birth, death and transfers between institutions. The studbook traces the entire history of each individual in a population; these collective histories describe the population's genetic and demographic identity.

PopLink can help maintain, analyze and export the data for a captive population that are relevant to its genetic and demographic management. PopLink imports a studbook from SPARKS, the current software used to manage studbook datasets.

Studbook keepers can use PopLink to track and maintain all the data relevant to an individual species within zoos. Population biologists can use PopLink to store analytical data, the version of the studbook used in the genetic and demographic analyses that management decisions are based on. PopLink includes many tools that assist with the development and maintenance of the analytical data necessary for management.

PopLink was developed by Lincoln Park Zoo with grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and with support from Lincoln Park Zoo, Minnesota Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, San Diego Zoo, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, United Airlines and Arcus Foundation.

PopLink is shareware that is distributed free of charge by Lincoln Park Zoo. The software and the manual are not guaranteed to be free of bugs and errors, and the user is responsible for ensuring that the application of PopLink is appropriate to the problem at hand. PopLink is owned and copyrighted by Lincoln Park Zoo but not copy-protected. Individuals can hereby make unlimited copies of PopLink for the purposes of population management, research and education.

Current Version


The most current version of PopLink is version 2.4, released December 15, 2012. PopLink is still under development; to be notified when a new release becomes available, send your name and email address to software@lpzoo.org.

For more information about PopLink and its uses in population management, download the user’s manual (PDF) here.

To see the changes made between versions of PopLink, check the Software Updates Log here.

Installation Instructions

To install PopLink:

  1. Download the current version of the program and save it to your computer.
  2. Use Windows Explorer to navigate to the downloaded zip file (PopLink 2.4.zip), double click on the file, and extract (or unzip) the files into a folder you designate on your computer.
  3. Follow the steps in the detailed instructions in the InstallReadMe.doc file in the unzipped folder.

If you have any questions about installation or use of PopLink, please contact software@lpzoo.org.

Citation Guidelines

Software Citation
Faust, LJ, Bergstrom, YM, and Thompson, SD, and Bier, L. 2012. PopLink Version 2.4. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Manual Citation
Faust, LJ, Bier, L, Schowe, K, and Gazlay, T. 2012. PopLink 2.4 User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.