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Species Survival Plan Program

The Santa Barbara Zoo is one of the more than 220 accredited zoos and aquariums that participate in Species Survival Plans (SSP), a cooperative conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

There are currently nearly 500 different SSP programs within AZA that are managed to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population and to guard against extinction.

SSP Programs are led by expert advisors who work together to maximize genetic diversity and manage the long-term sustainability of Taxon Advisory Group-recommended Animal Programs within AZA member institutions. Each SSP Program manages the breeding of a select species or sub-species by collaborating with the AZA Population Management Center, Reproductive Management Center, program leaders, and institutional representatives from each participating institution who develop an SSP Breeding and Transfer Plan, which summarizes the population’s current demographic and genetic status, describes the Animal Program’s management designation, and recommends breeding pairs and transfers.

Species Survival Plan

Population Management

Most animals you see in zoos today were born in human care. Few animals are taken from the wild, and buying or bartering for species is rare. Zoos work collaboratively to manage breeding within these populations.

Animals currently being managed by Species Survival Plans at the Santa Barbara Zoo:


  • African Lion
  • Asian Small-clawed Otter
  • Amur Leopard
  • Capybara*
  • Fennec Fox*
  • Giant Anteater
  • Masai Giraffe
  • Island Fox*
  • Slender-tailed Meerkat
  • Three-banded Armadillo
  • Western Lowland Gorilla*
  • White-handed Gibbon*


  • Black-Naped Fruit Dove
  • Blue Crowned Pigeon
  • Blue-Faced Honeyeater
  • California Condor*
  • Chilean Flamingo
  • Hamerkop
  • Humboldt Penguin
  • Inca Tern*
  • Laughing Kookaburra
  • Luzon’s Bleeding Heart Dove
  • Marbled Teal*
  • Palawan Peacock Pheasant
  • Rhinoceros Hornbill
  • Scarlet Ibis*
  • Southern Ground Hornbill
  • Tawny Frogmouth
  • Toco Toucan


  • Burmese Black Tortoise*
  • Chinese Alligator*
  • Coahuila Aquatic Box Turtle*
  • Pacific Pond Turtle*
  • Radiated Tortoise*
  • Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizards*
  • San Esteban Island Chuckwalla*

*Not breeding

500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103