Two Japanese macaques in exhibit

Staff Participation in AZA Population Management and Conservation Programs

African painted dog in exhibit


Through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plans® and SAFE programs, zoo experts collaborate to maintain healthy animal populations in zoos and in the wild.


The zoo’s staff is committed to furthering the goals and purpose of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. In addition to its conservation and science programs, the AZA also serves as the national accrediting body for zoos and aquariums. Species Survival Plans® (SSPs) are cooperative management programs established by the AZA to ensure the viability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums.

SSPs are overseen by Taxonomic Advisory Groups (TAGs), which work to manage species that share similar taxonomic background, exhibit needs, and care and conservation priorities.

SSP and TAG Programs

Lincoln Park Zoo participates in more than 45 SSPs. Zoo staff also serve as SSP coordinators, studbook keepers, and advisors for SSPs and TAGs, including the:

  • African Painted Dog SSP
  • Angolan Colobus SSP
  • Bali Myna SSP
  • Bat-eared Fox SSP
  • Buceros SSP
  • Chimpanzee SSP
  • Common Eland SSP
  • Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake SSP
  • Gorilla SSP
  • Inca Tern SSP
  • Japanese Macaque SSP
  • Klipspringer SSP
  • Lesser Madagascar Hedgehog Tenrec SSP
  • Nile Lechwe SSP
  • Okapi SSP
  • Sichuan Takin SSP
  • Southern Three-banded Armadillo SSP
  • Swan Goose SSP
  • Three-banded Armadillo SSP

AZA Population Management Center

The AZA Population Management Center (PMC) is housed at Lincoln Park Zoo and plays a critical role in SSP programs. The PMC assists zoo and aquarium professionals across the country with conducting demographic and genetic analyses and preparing Breeding and Transfer Plans for SSP species.


The zoo is also heavily involved with AZA’s Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program. SAFE programs use the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to substantially improve the conservation status of species in the wild. Zoo staff current serve in leadership or advisory roles in the SAFE programs for chimpanzees, North American songbirds, lions, and orangutans.

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