Zoos and aquariums 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.
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 single, holistic 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, for a long time, there was 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 the Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology and the PMC developed PMCTrack with grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. PMCTrack, a website, provides the necessary tools and data to understand, monitor, and improve management of SSPs. The knowledge gained through this monitoring should ultimately improve the long-term viability of populations of animals held at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.
This project was made possible, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Consejo Consulting, and ZierNiemann Consulting.
PMCTrack is a web-based database and monitoring system designed to evaluate the outcomes of breeding and transfer recommendations made through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums animal programs, such as Species Survival Plans®.
AZA Animal Programs
Nearly 500 animal programs work cooperatively with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to achieve extraordinary animal management, conservation, and scientific initiatives.