In developing PMCTrack, Lincoln Park Zoo scientists have made it possible to evaluate the outcome of every recommendation to move or breed a zoo animal.
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, each of the 500+ animal programs are 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, a website designed to evaluate the outcomes of breeding and transfer recommendations for 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.