Species 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.
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.