Species Survival Plan Programs™ (SSP), managed through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), began in 1981 as a long-term plan involving conservation breeding, habitat preservation, public education, field conservation, and supportive research to ensure survival for many of the planet’s threatened and endangered species. Currently, over 450 SSPs are managed by zoo experts using state-of- the-art reproductive technologies, genetic analysis, and carefully selected breeding recommendations.
The SSP program not only requires participating zoos to breed only selected pairs of animals, but there is also a need for housing animals that are currently not candidates for breeding. Breeding animals often requires lots of space, specialized facilities, and staff time. It also means more transportation of animals to and from other zoos. Providing a haven for non-breeding SSP animals also allows zoos to fill an important need for SSPs within their capabilities.