ASSOCIATION OF ZOOS & AQUARIUMS (AZA) represents
professionally operated zoological parks, aquariums, oceanariums,
and wildlife parks in North America as well as over 5,500
individual members. AZA supports membership excellence
in conservation, education, science, and recreation. Through
Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative population
management and conservation program for selected endangered
species in zoos and aquariums in North America.
Species Survival Plan (SSP) 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.
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