Species Survival Plan (SSP)

2011 SSP Animals at Como.  AZA has reorganized it’s SSP programs and created new categories.  In doing so Como now has 37 SSP animals. There are now two types of SSP Program designation: Green and Yellow (which we’ll represent as orange here in order to view it better).

Cooperatively managed populations that can retain 90% gene diversity for at least 100 years, or 10 generations, are Green SSP ProgramsGreen SSP Programs must adhere to the AZA Policy for Full Participation and all non-AZA member partners must be approved by the Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC).

Cooperatively managed populations of at least 50 individuals that cannot retain 90% gene diversity for 100 years or 10 generations are Yellow SSP Programs.  Participation in Yellow SSP Programs is voluntary, and non-AZA member partners do not need to be approved by the WCMC.

A third category – Red Programs are recommended by their associated Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) for cooperative management among AZA, but their populations are too small, fewer than 50 individuals, to qualify as a Species Survival Plan (SSP) ProgramRed Programs maintain an AZA Regional Studbook. Red Programs do not have the same population planning requirements of SSP Programs. However, Red Programs are encouraged to work with their TAG on defining their Animal Program goals and objectives, which will impact the subsequent Animal Program management strategies, as these will differ between Red Programs. Some start-up efforts will be designated as Red Programs. There are some “old” SSP’s that have not yet been designated one of the new categories.




DeBrazza Monkey (Guenon SSP) – not yet designated

White Faced Saki

Blue eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur SSP) – not yet designated

Emperor Tamarin (saguinus imperator)

Geoffroy’s Tamarin (Calithrix geoffroy)

Spider Monkey

Tropical Encounters:

Hoffman’s Two Toed Sloth

Silver-beaked tanager

Turquoise tanager

Blue-grey tanager



Harbor Seal

California Sea Lion

Atlantic Puffin

Lake Victoria Cichlids

Polar Bear

African Penguin


Amur Tiger

Snow Leopard

African Lion


Hoofed Stock:

Reticulated Giraffe


Yellow billed stork

Black Crown crane

Bird Yard:

Chilean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

Galapagos Tortoise


Radiated Tortoise

Wyoming Toad

Panamanian Golden Frog- not yet designated


Straw Colored Fruit Bat

Southern Three Banded Armadillo

North American Porcupine

Como Zoo’s First Studbook: The Crowned Lemur (Eulemur coronatus)

Como Zoo Primate Keeper, Megan Elder, is the newly appointed North American regional studbook keeper for the Crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus)- a species managed under the Eulemur Species Survival Plan (SSP). Crowned lemurs are found only on the northern tip of the island of Madagascar. Duke University’s Primate Center estimates only 1,000-10,000 individuals left in the wild. Threats to this species include human encroachment, “slash & burn” agriculture, and fragmented habitats. To qualify for this position, Megan underwent special training and completed two Population Management courses offered through the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s (AZA) professional development program. As studbook keeper, Megan is responsible for tracking all Crowned lemurs held in North American institutions and tracing them back to the wild. In doing so, a database is created that is used to perform genetic analyses for making breeding recommendations. Studbooks are important conservation tools that ensure genetically diverse, healthy captive population similar to those in the wild.

Blandings Turtle Research

The Blandings turtle is listed as a threatened species in Minnesota. Como Zoo staff is involved in tracking the Blandings in Saint Paul Parks. The ongoing research locates the areas where this rare species is found and provides critical information to help protect its habitat in our city.

Butterfly Conservation Initiative (BFCI)

Como recently joined a coalition of AZA accredited zoos and aquariums, non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies – working together to aid the conservation of threatened, endangered and vulnerable North American Butterflies and the habitats that sustain them. This initiative focuses on recovery, research and education. At Como we demonstrate butterfly gardening with the Enchanted Garden, which is located across from the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Last spring, our on-site butterfly habitats were expanded to include space in the Bird yard around the Old Mill House. Como is also working with the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project at the University of Minnesota to collect data on monarch butterflies in Como’s gardens.

Seafood Watch

Como has established a Seafood Watch Partnership with the Montery Bay Aquarium to raise awareness with our visitors about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources. The 3″ x 2″ foldable guide is updated twice a year and lists which types of fish make the best options for sustainable dining. This small handout is the perfect size to keep in your purse and pull out when you visit the grocery store! Visitors can pick up a Seafood Watch guide at the Visitor Center or in the Aquatics building. Not able to get to the zoo? You can also print the pocket guide or download the app for iphone or android! Click HERE to get the pocket guide or app.

Amphibian Recovery and Conservation Coalition Project in Panama

It is believed that 50% of nearly 6000 species of amphibians are in serious danger of becoming extinct in the near future. The goal of the Amphibian Recovery and Conservation Coalition (ARCC) is to treat sick amphibians in the wild and establish healthy captive colonies here in the United States. Como is helping to breed five species of endangered Panamanian frogs for the coalition including the national symbol of Panama, the Golden Frog.