Studbook and Species Survival Plan Participation
The Living Desert and other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums work diligently to conserve and preserve animal populations around the world. Through various programs, including the Species Survival Plan (SSP), zoos and aquariums focus on cooperative breeding, husbandry, educational initiatives, shared research and ex-situ conservation programs for each individual species. The goal of these programs is to maximize genetic sustainability and diversity ensuring the long-term survival of the populations.
The Living Desert holds five studbooks (Cuvier’s gazelle, addax, slender-horned gazelle, desert bighorn, and Mexican wolf), and Zoo staff are the coordinators of five Species Survival Plans (SSPs) or candidate programs: Cuvier’s gazelle, scimitar-horned oryx, slender-horned gazelle, desert bighorn, and Mexican wolf.
AZA SAFE Engagement
The Living Desert serves leadership roles in two international conservation efforts spearheaded by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Mike Chedester, Director of Education, serves as the Education Coordinator for the AZA Cheetah SAFE program for all AZA institutions.
RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Care, serves as the Education Coordinator for the AZA Giraffe SAFE program for all AZA institutions.
INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF NATURE MEMBER
It’s The Living Desert’s active participation in 33 field conservation projects in 11 countries around the world, along with its Specifies Survival Programs and Saving Animals from Extinction programs that helped secure their membership into the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Living Desert is one of only nine accredited AZA members to earn this status.
The IUCN is the world’s leading body on determining the conservation status of species, crafting legislation to support their conservation, and bringing together the leaders of conservation to care for the planet. The IUCN determines the status of species such as vulnerable, threatened, endangered or critically endangered.
In addition, Dr. James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation, has been accepted as part of the Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, a global expert network formed by the IUCN to provide credible technical advice on sustainable use and livelihoods to conservation projects globally.