Species Survival Plan (SSP)

Bonobo Species Survival Plan

ViajeSpecies Survival Plans (SSPs) are management programs that strive to maintain healthy, self-sustaining captive populations of endangered species in zoological facilities throughout North America. All SSPs work under the auspices of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Since 1988, the Zoological Society of Milwaukee has been the headquarters of the Bonobo SSP, coordinated by Dr. Gay Reinartz. The Bonobo SSP vice coordinator is Audra Meinelt, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

SSP Objectives

  1. Bonobos in zoosEnsure the genetic diversity and demographic health of captive bonobos. Work in tandem with the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to manage bonobos globally.
  2. Advance the care and social well-being of captive bonobos.
  3. Conduct and facilitate research to help learn more about bonobo care and conservation.
  4. Educate the public about bonobos, their natural history and conservation status.
  5. Collaborate with other organizations that study and conserve wild and captive bonobos.

All institutions, except one research facility, housing bonobos in North America are members of the Bonobo SSP. Bonobos are not common in zoos. As of 2013, approximately 80 bonobos live in seven zoological institutions in the U.S.; approximately 85 bonobos live in European zoos. In contrast, there are more than 2,000 chimpanzees and 300 gorillas in the U.S. alone. Therefore, to create a healthy, growing population, genetic management is a critical component of this SSP to ensure long-term survival in captivity.

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