Species Survival Plan

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A Masai giraffe located at the Cleveland, Ohio Zoo as part of an SSP program.

The American Species Survival Plan or SSP program was developed in 1981 by the (American) Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums,[1] most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.

SSP program

SSP programs focus on animals that are near threatened, threatened, endangered, or otherwise in danger of

reintroduction, and in situ or field conservation projects.[1] The process for selecting recommended species is guided by Taxon Advisory Groups, whose sole objective is to curate Regional Collection Plans for the conservation needs of a species and how AZA institutions will cooperate to reach those needs.[4] Today, there are almost 300 existing SSP programs.[5] The SSP has been met with widespread success in ensuring that, should a species population become functionally extinct in its natural habitat, a viable population still exists within a zoological setting. This has also led to AZA species reintroduction programs, examples of which include the black-footed ferret, the California condor, the northern riffleshell, the golden lion tamarin, the Karner blue butterfly, the Oregon spotted frog, the palila finch, the red wolf, and the Wyoming toad.[6]

SSP master plan

An SSP master plan is a document produced by the SSP coordinator (generally a zoo professional under the guidance of an elected management committee)[1] for a certain species. This document sets ex situ population goals and other management recommendations to achieve the maximum genetic diversity and demographic stability for a species, given transfer and space constraints.[2]

See also

  • European Endangered Species Programme

List of SSP programs

As of 2023, there are 290 species that are a part of the Species Survival Plan program.[7][note 1]


  1. ^ While these are called Species Survival Plan programs, some animals on this list are subspecies. Other animal names on this list are not the commonly used name, however they are the official name of their respective SSP program.


  1. ^ a b c "Species Survival Plan Programs | AZA". www.aza.org. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  2. ^ a b "Species Survival Plans help preserve wildlife" on the Central Florida Zoo website.
  3. ^ "Species Survival Plan" on PBS NOVA Online.
  4. ^ "Taxon Advisory Groups". www.aza.org. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  5. ^ https://www.aza.org/species-survival-plan-programs?locale=en#:~:text=There%20are%20currently%20nearly%20300,(TAGs)%2C%20within%20AZA.
  6. ^ "Reintroduction Programs". www.aza.org. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  7. ^ "Animal Program Database". ams.aza.org. Retrieved 2023-04-13.

External links