Population Management Center

About the PMC

Lincoln Park Zoo hosts the Population Management Center (PMC) in partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Established in June 2000, the center provides assistance to zoo professionals across the country by conducting demographic and genetic analyses and preparing breeding and transfer plans for Species Survival Plan® (SSP) and Red Studbook species. Operational support for the center is provided by the AZA, Rice Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Lincoln Park Zoo.

In their management of captive animals, zoos and aquariums focus on the long-term maintenance of healthy populations in conjunction with education and conservation goals. Cooperative, scientific population management is critical to the long-term sustainability of most zoo and some aquarium animal collections.

Science-based population management ensures that zoo and aquarium collections meet the following standards:

* They’re maintained at the sizes necessary to meet the conservation and education missions of each species
* They retain the highest possible levels of genetic diversity
* They will not grow beyond the zoo and aquarium community's ability to care for them.

Related Projects

Zoos across the country cooperate on breeding and transfer plans to ensure healthy populations. In developing PMCTrack, Lincoln Park Zoo scientists have made it possible to evaluate the outcome of every recommendation for the first time—improving population planning everywhere.


PopLink is a computer program developed by Lincoln Park Zoo scientists to track data on individual animals over their lifetimes and use that data to help their management.



Sarah Long, M.S.

  Sara Sullivan is an associate population biologist in the Population Management Center at Lincoln Park Zoo  

Sara Sullivan, M.S.
Population Biologist

  John Andrews, M.S.
Associate Population Biologist
  Jessica Ray, M.A., is an associate population biologist in the Population Management Center   Jessica Ray, M.A.
Associate Population Biologist
Kelvin Limbrick, Studbook Analyst at Lincoln Park Zoo, Population Management Center   Kelvin Limbrick
Studbook Analyst
  Cara Groome Bryan is a consulting population biologist for the Population Management Center at Lincoln Park Zoo.  

Cara Groome Bryan
Consulting Population Biologist

Colleen Lynch is a consulting population biologist for the Population Management Center at Lincoln Park Zoo  

Colleen Lynch
Consulting Population Biologist



Working closely with staff from the zoo’s Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology and the Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology, the PMC staff participates in the development and evaluation of population management software, evaluates disease risks and/or reproductive status, and models the impact of potential management strategies on population size and structure.

To schedule a planning meeting or receive population management or software advice for an AZA Studbook or Species Survival Plan®, please contact Studbook Analyst Kelvin Limbrick.


Animal planning at Lincoln Park Zoo reflects a species life in the wild. Amur tigers, for instance, are naturally suited for solitary lifestyles, coming together only to breed.  

How Are the Animals Paired Up?
Gorillas prefer social groups, Amur tigers enjoy the solitary life, but every pairing is carefully planned by experts.

A baby dwarf mongoose explores its habitat at Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.  

Post from the President—Zoo Family Planning
President and CEO Kevin Bell shares a video of one of the new baby dwarf mongooses. He also explains how zoos throughout North America work together to carefully plan and care for every new arrival.

Bana holds her baby, Patty, who was born October 11.  

Gorilla Matchmaking and Family Planning
How did zoo matchmakers choose the pairings that produced two gorilla babies at Regenstein Center for African Apes? Population Management Center Director  Sarah Long shares the details.


Seahorses Shake Up Population Planning
How do you plan breeding for a species where males incubate eggs and as many as 800 offspring can be produced every two–three weeks? Director Sarah Long offers an inside look at planning for lined seahorses.


Family Planning for Puerto Rican Parrots
Population Management Center Director Sarah Long, M.S., travels south to help experts make the perfect breeding matches for Puerto Rican parrots, one of the most endangered birds on Earth.


Population Management Center Executive Summary
Population Planning Overview
How AZA Population Managers Can Help

Population Management Guidelines
PMC Planning Process Flow Chart
Preparing for a Planning Meeting with the PMC

How to Publish a Studbook using PopLink
How to Publish a Studbook using SPARKS
Sending and Receiving Studbooks in PopLink and SPARKS