21 Species Survival Plans

January 12, 2018


Utica, NY – Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a program that is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). According to AZA.org, Species Survival Plan oversees the population management of select species within AZA member institutions, and enhances the conservation of species in the wild. Each SSP program coordinates the individual activities of participating member institutions through a variety of species conservation, research, husbandry, management, and educational initiatives. Utica Zoo is not yet accredited by the AZA, but participates as a Sustainability Partner in twenty one SSP programs (chart below). Any breeding of animals in an SSP program at the Utica Zoo is done so with the recommendation of the SSP. SSP programs are led by expert advisors who cooperatively work together to maximize genetic diversity, appropriately manage the demographic distribution and long term sustainability of recommended animal programs. These plans are designed to maintain healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable population for the long-term future. For more information about the Species Survival Plan, go to AZA.org.

“We are honored to be included in the Species Survival Plan for so many animals. Whether the program is focused on education, conservation, or research, the Utica Zoo is committed to filling the role that is asked of us by each SSP. In some instances, we may even be asked to house non-breeding animals so that there is room at larger facilities to breed.” Beth Ricci, Lead Keeper said. Ricci continued, “These programs are integral to professionally managed animal collections and show that we are dedicated to the responsible care of species. We will continue to show this commitment as we progress in our goal to attain AZA accreditation.”

In 2014, by the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan, Utica Zoo welcomed a new female red panda named Ming Yue to join their male Muse. The pair were successful in breeding, and produced two female cubs in the summer of 2015 named Malina and Roshani. The cubs were the first-ever red pandas born at the Utica Zoo, which was established in 1914. All four pandas currently live at the zoo, but the SSP program is in the process of placing the cubs at a different zoo. Near one year of age, red panda cubs begin to venture off to look for their own territory. Malina and Roshani are nearly 18 months old, and will be leaving as part of that natural process. Visit the Utica Zoo to see and learn about animals that are endangered and critically endangered species in the wild. For a full list of Utica Zoo animals, and their conservation status, go to uticazoo.org/animals

SSP Species Conservation Status Breeding or Holding
Mexican Spider Monkey Critically Endangered Possible Breeding Pair
Chinese Alligators Critically Endangered Holding
Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture Critically Endangered Holding
Red Panda Endangered Holding
Mexican Wolves Endangered Holding
Ring-tailed Lemur Endangered Holding
White-handed Gibbon Endangered Contracepted Pair
Golden Lion Tamarin Endangered Holding
Golden-headed Lion Tamarin Endangered Holding, Future Breeding
Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Vulnerable Holding
White-naped Crane Vulnerable Breeding Pair
Transcaspian Urial Vulnerable Breeding Group
Bennett’s Wallaby Stable Breeding Group
North American Porcupine Stable Holding
California Sea Lion Stable Breeding Pair
African Crested Porcupine Stable Holding
Snowy Owl Stable Holding
Kinkajou Stable Holding
Serval Stable Holding
Canada Lynx Stable Holding
Prehensile-tailed Skinks Not Evaluated Breeding Pair

Stephanie Roy from Chicopee, MA feeds three red pandas at the Utica Zoo during an animal encounter.