Species Survival Plan

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a cooperative animal management program between AZA Accredited Zoos. The SSP program began in 1981 as a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species in zoos and aquariums in North America. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Beyond this, SSP’s participate in a variety of other cooperative conservation activities, such as research, public education, reintroduction and field projects. Currently there are 107 SSP’s covering 161 individual species are administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, whose membership includes accredited zoos and aquariums throughout North America.

Right now, the Little Rock Zoo is home to a number of species on the SSP list. So when you are visiting the Zoo you will see several of our SSP animals such as the gorillas, chimpanzees, rhinos, and other animals. Look for the SSP symbol at exhibits throughout the zoo.

Supporting the Little Rock Zoo helps support the SSP programs working to help keep these animals in our world now and in the future.

You can make a difference! Support the Zoo’s conservation efforts today!

Threatened or endangered species are animals that have been identified as being in danger of becoming extinct because of harmful human activity or environmental factors. They are also the subject of protective regulations and conservation measures. So unless a swift and positive action is taken soon, these animals are destined to become extinct in the wild and may only survive only in zoological institutions and wildlife parks! By supporting the zoo and its programs, you can help save these animals and hundreds of others from vanishing forever.

PMP’s (Population Management Plans):

Basic population management is necessary if zoos and aquariums are to maintain stable, self-sustaining populations for their display and conservation purposes. In 1994 the AZA's Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC) created Population Management Plans (PMP’s) to provide basic population management for various captive populations. PMP’s are established for studbook populations that do not require the intensive management and conservation action of SSP’s. AZA studbooks are true records of the history of a captive population. They include pedigrees of animals and a listing of the various locations in which animals have been held. They are primarily used for monitoring and managing captive populations. A studbook traces the entire history of each individual in a population; these collective histories are known as the population's genetic and demographic identity.

CAP’s (Conservation Action Partnership):

AZA Conservation Action Partnerships (CAP’s), formerly known as Fauna Interest Groups (FIG’s), were established in 1991. They are special committees designed to help coordinate the conservation and scientific activities of AZA institutions working in specific geographical regions of the world. Attention is focused on regions abundant in unique wildlife and habitat. Because these so-called "hot spots" of biodiversity are subject to increasing pressure and degradation from human activities, more and more of their endemic species are being threatened with extinction. Many of the species managed by AZA Species Survival Plans (SSP’s) are native to such regions, and SSP coordinators are often members of CAP’s. Other CAP members include various zoo and aquarium staff, university scientists, field researchers, and representatives from conservation organization and agencies with special expertise or interest in a particular region and its wildlife. For more information on these important programs, please visit http://www.aza.org/ConScience

SAG’s (Scientific Advisory Group):

SAG’s were established in 1991 to help coordinate, facilitate, and monitor the relevant research activities of AZA's member institutions and conservation programs. These groups serve as a clearinghouse of technical advice for our institutional members. Most importantly, the SAG’s outline future research priorities to the other AZA Conservation Programs. SAG members include member institution staff as well as university, government, and other outside scientists.

TAG's (Taxon Advisory Groups):

Taxon Advisory Groups (TAG’s) are groups of experts responsible for making recommendations for AZA institutions regarding similar groups of animals (taxa). TAG’s include groups for terrestrial invertebrates, bats, marine fishes, penguins, and more. TAG recommendations are published in Regional Collection Plans (RCP’s). TAG’s evaluated the need for captive rearing of species and helps define the holding space available for species held in AZA institutions. RCP’s include recommendations for which species should be maintained in captivity, and how much space should be allocated to each species. TAG’s also develop Action Plans with specific priorities for conservation projects designed to help species in the wild and in zoos and aquariums.