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San Clemente Island Fox at Santa Barbara Zoo as part of an SSP

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 ProgramEdit

SSP programs focus on animals that are in danger of extinction in the wild, when zoo conservationists believe captive breeding programs may be their only chance to survive.[2] These programs also help maintain healthy and genetically diverse animal populations within the zoo community.[3] AZA accredited zoos and AZA conservation partners that are involved in SSP programs engage in cooperative population management and conservation efforts that include research, public education, reintroduction, and in situ or field conservation projects.[1] There are currently 172 species covered by 116 SSP programs in North America.[4]

SSP Master PlanEdit

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 breeding goals and other management recommendations to achieve the maximum genetic diversity and demographic stability for a species, given transfer and space constraints.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2007). "Species Survival Plan Program - SSP Fact Sheet". Association of Zoos and Aquariums website. Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  2. ^ a b "Species Survival Plans help preserve wildlife" on the Central Florida Zoo website.
  3. ^ "Species Survival Plan" on PBS NOVA Online.
  4. ^ AZA Conservation Program Statistics on the AZA website.

External linksEdit

Many AZA-accredited zoos engage in SSP programs and discuss them on their websites. The following links are to a small selection of those sites: