The Wildlife Safari has the second most successful cheetah breeding program in world but we would not be able to do it without the help of the Species Survival Plan, or SSP. Many of the animals born at the park, including our 11-month old cheetah cubs, 4 month old giraffe calf, and 3 year old lions are the result of breeding specified from SSP.
So what is the Species Survival Plan and how does the Wildlife Safari participate?
The Species Survival Plan is a set of nearly 500 different breeding plans for endangered or vulnerable species. It is run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, or AZA. Wildlife Safari is one of 232 facilities accredited by the AZA. Most of the zoos and aquariums that take part in the Species Survival Plan are AZA facilities. SSP has groups of people who study the genetics of each species and determine the best matches. Theyrate breeding pairs on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being the best possible match and 6 advising against breeding because the individuals are too closely related. It is very important for zookeepers to follow these recommendations because we want to improve and keep the genetic diversity of a population in captivity. This diversity could also help wild populations in the future!
Visiting the Wildlife Safari helps make it possible for us to have successful breeding programs! Every dollar that you spend at the park goes right back into the park and helps pay for animal-related necessities like food and enrichment! We hope to see you soon!