Eastern black rhino calf in exhibit
A screenshot of PopLink's "homepage"


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


PopLink is a computer program designed to improve the management and analysis of studbook databases. A studbook is an electronic record of the history of a population. It includes information on every individual in a population, such as 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 relevant to the genetic and demographic management of a population in zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, or breeding centers, or for wild populations that are tracked at an individual level.

Studbook keepers can use PopLink to track and maintain all the data relevant to an individual species. 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. They can also conduct queries and analysis of the studbook to support population management.

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 2.5.2. Although not under active development, occasionally new releases of PopLink will be made available; 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).

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

Installation Instructions

To install PopLink, follow the instructions in the InstallReadMe.pdf.

  1. Download the current version of the program and save it to your computer.
  2. Use Windows Explorer to navigate to the downloaded file (PopLink2.5Install.exe) and double click on the file to start installation.
  3. Follow the steps in the detailed instructions in the InstallReadMe.pdf file.

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

Citation Guidelines

Software Citation Faust, LJ, Bergstrom, YM, Thompson, SD, and Bier, L. 2019. PopLink Version 2.5. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Manual Citation Faust, LJ, Bier, L, Schowe, K, and Gazlay, T. 2019. PopLink 2.5 User’s Manual. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.


Senior Director of Population Ecology

Program Partners

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, Arcus Foundation, and ZierNiemann Consulting.

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