The Species Survival Plans, or SSPs, began in 1981 as a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species at North American zoos and aquariums. Each SSP carefully manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Beyond this, SSPs include a variety of other cooperative conservation activities, such as research, public education, reintroduction, and field projects.

How Species Are Selected
A species must satisfy a number of criteria to be selected for an SSP. Most SSP species are endangered or threatened in the wild and have the interest of qualified professionals with time to dedicate toward their conservation. Also, SSP species are often "flagship species," well-known animals which arouse strong feelings in the public for their preservation and the protection of their habitat. Examples are the giant panda, Siberian tiger and lowland gorilla. New SSPs are approved by the AZA Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee, with input from the appropriate Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), which manages conservation programs for related groups of species (great apes, bears, freshwater fish, etc.).

How SSPs Work
Each SSP has a qualified species coordinator who is responsible for managing its day-to day activities. Management committees composed of various experts assist the coordinator with the conservation efforts for the particular species, including aspects of population management, research, education and reintroduction when feasible.

Conservation Action
Several SSPs include reintroduction projects, though reintroduction of animals to the wild is not the goal of every SSP. For native species, SSPs are often linked to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Recovery Plans. While captive breeding and reintroduction are not panaceas for the endangered species problem, reintroduction projects have been successful in returning certain species to their natural places in the ecosystem. SSPs for which reintroduction is not appropriate have a positive impact on assisting the wild population through support of field projects and habitat protection, development of new technologies, public and professional education programs, and basic and applied research. 


Addax: 31st St Walkway
African Lion: Big Cat Walkway
African Painted Dogs: Habitat Africa The Kopje
Amur Leopard: Outside Desert's Edge
Amur Tiger: Big Cat Walkway
Andean Condor: Outside Feathers & Scales
Angolan Colobus: Tropic World Africa
Aruba Island Rattlesnake: Feathers & Scales
Asian Small-Clawed Otter: Tropic World Asia
Beautiful Fruit Dove: Feathers & Scales
Bennett's Wallaby: Australia, Hamill Family Wild Encounters
Binturong: Clouded Leopard Rain Forest, Animal Ambassadors
Blanding's Turtle: Hamill Family Play Zoo
Blue-Bellied Roller: Tropic World Africa
Blue-Billed Curassow: Feathers & Scales
Blue-Crowned Motmot: Feathers & Scales, Reptiles & Birds
Blue-Faced Honeyeater: Feathers & Scales
Blue-Grey Tanager: Feathers & Scales
Boat-Billed Heron: The Swamp
Bornean Orangutan: Tropic World Asia
Caiman Lizard: Reptiles & Birds
California Sea Lion: Pinniped Point
Cape Porcupine: Desert's Edge, Animal Ambassadors
Catalina Island Rattlesnake: Feathers & Scales
Clouded Leopard: Clouded Leopard Rain Forest
Common Squirrel Monkey: Tropic World South America
Congo Peafowl: Habitat Africa The Forest
Crested Wood Partridge: Feathers & Scales
Curl-Crested Aracari: Feathers & Scales, Reptiles & Birds
Dwarf Mongoose: Habitat Africa The Kopje
East Africa Grey-Crowned Crane: Habitat Africa The Savannah
Eastern Black Rhinoceros: Pachyderms
Eastern Indigo Snake: Reptiles & Birds
Eastern Massasauga: Feathers & Scales, The Swamp
Egyptian Tortoise: Feathers & Scales
European White Stork: Habitat Africa The Forest
Fishing Cat: Clouded Leopard Rain Forest
Galapagos Tortoise: Pachyderms
Giant Anteater: Tropic World South America
Greater Roadrunner: Feathers & Scales
Green Aracari: Animal Ambassadors
Grevy's Zebra: 31st St Walkway
Grey Seal: Pinniped Point
Guam Kingfisher: Off exhibit
Helmeted Curassow: Off exhibit
Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth: Tropic World South America
Home's Hingeback Tortoise: Habitat Africa The Forest
Humboldt Penguin: The Living Coast
Inca Tern: The Living Coast
Indochinese Box Turtle: Clouded Leopard Rain Forest
Jamaican Boa: Feathers & Scales
Jambu Fruit Dove: Feathers & Scales
Kirk's Dik-Dik: Habitat Africa The Savannah
Klipspringer: Off exhibit
Laughing Kookaburra: Australia
Meerkat: Desert's Edge
Mexican Wolf: Regenstein Wolf Woods
North American River Otter: The Swamp
Okapi: Habitat Africa The Forest
Panamanian Golden Frog: Reptiles & Birds
Polar Bear: Great Bear Wilderness
Pot-Bellied Seahorse: The Living Coast
Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine: Animal Ambassadors
Prehensile-Tailed Skink: Reptiles & Birds
Prevost's Squirrel: Clouded Leopard Rain Forest
Przewalski's Horse: 31st St Walkway
Puerto Rican Crested Toad: Off exhibit
Pygmy Hippo: Pachyderms
Radiated Tortoise: Off exhibit
Red-Billed Hornbill: Habitat Africa The Forest
Red-Billed Leiothrix: Reptiles & Birds
Red-Capped Cardinal: Feathers & Scales, Habitat Africa South America
Red-Crested Turaco: Habitat Africa The Kopje
Red Flanked Duiker: Habitat Africa The Forest
Red-Legged Seriema: Hamill Family Play Zoo
Reticulated Giraffe: Habitat Africa The Kopje
Ring-Tailed Lemur: Hamill Family Play Zoo
Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizard: Reptiles & Birds
Rodrigues Fruit Bat: Australia
Roseate Spoonbill: The Swamp
Scarlet-Faced Liocichla: Feathers & Scales
Serval: Animal Ambassadors
Short-beaked Echidna: Australia
Silver-beaked Tanager: Feathers & Scales, Reptiles & Birds
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat: Australia
Southern Tamandua: Animal Ambassadors
Spider Tortoise: Feathers & Scales
Spotted Turtle: Feathers & Scales
Sunbittern: The Swamp
Tawny Frogmouth: Feathers & Scales, Hamill Family Play Zoo
Toco Toucan: Hamill Family Play Zoo
Troupial: Feathers & Scales, Reptiles & Birds
Turquoise Tanager: Feathers & Scales, Reptiles & Birds
Victoria Crowned Pigeon: Feathers & Scales
Violet Turaco: Feathers & Scales
Violet-Backed Starling: Habitat Africa The Kopje
Wattled Curassow: Feathers & Scales
Western Grey Kangaroo: Australia
Western Lowland Gorilla: Tropic World
White-Cheeked Gibbon: Tropic World Asia
White-Headed Buffalo Weaver: Habitat Africa The Kopje
White-Blotched River Stingray: The Swamp
Yellow-Backed Duiker: Habitat Africa The Forest