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 Dear Directors:


Because living animals are so vital to the future of zoos and aquariums, Brad Andrews announced

at the Director’s Meeting in Silver Spring that the AZA Board has approved the formation of a new

Task Force on the Sustainability of Zoo-based Collections. 


The Task Force includes AZA Board members Brad Andrews, Mike Fouraker, and Bob Wiese,

WCMC Chair Mark Reed, and AZA’s Sr VP of Conservation & Education Paul Boyle. 


In addition, the Task Force will call on a diversity of individuals from the conservation community

(e.g., AZA Conservation staff, AZA Government Affairs staff, AZA Population Management Center

staff, AZA Contraception Center staff, AZA Small Population Management Advisory Group, AZA

Wildlife Conservation Management Committee, animal program chairs, U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Service officials, research scientists, and selected conservation professionals).


The Task Force on the Sustainability of Zoo-Based Collections is charged with evaluating

the following areas of animal collections management and making recommendations to the

AZA Board to maximize the success of AZA’s cooperative animal management and

conservation programs. 


  • Review the mission, goals, and limits of the AZA cooperative management programs.


  • Set minimum achievable goals for long-term sustainability of AZA cooperative animal
    management programs. 


  • Examine and determine which factors/parameters have the greatest impact on the
    sustainability of zoo populations and their ability to reach the above goals. 


  • Assess resources required to sustain the cooperative management programs of the
    AZA - balancing limited resources (e.g., people, expertise, support) and succession
    planning for the leadership and membership in the cooperative management programs.


  • Assess the ability of the current system to allow programs to meet sustainability
    requirements and achieve the goals.


  • Assess current relationship with U.S. government agencies and assess permitting
    regulations and practices that impede zoos and aquariums maintaining sustainable
    populations.  Provide recommendations to increase respect for our cooperative
    animal management programs by government agencies.  Provide recommendations
    on regulation and permitting changes that will maximize collection sustainability
    and our cooperative program’s ability to meet animal management and conservation


  • Recommend modifications to the AZA cooperative animal management system
    structure/organization to ensure programs are positioned to achieve sustainability goals. 
The Task Force is interested in your thoughts and ideas on the points listed above.
Over the next few months, we will solicit input on specific questions using web-based tools. 
Please feel free to forward this message as needed.

Paul Boyle, Ph.D.                                      
Senior Vice President, Conservation & Education

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
8403 Colesville Road, Suite 710        
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3314   
(P) 301-562-0777 X240

(F) 301-562-0888
The AZA logo identifies institutions dedicated to excellent animal care, connecting children and families to nature, and wildlife conservation.

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