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About PMCTrack

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plans (SSPs) are cooperative programs which pool animals across AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to manage them as populations. Common goals of SSP programs are to maintain sustainable populations in zoos to serve as insurance for wild populations and to meet the conservation and education goals of AZA member institutions. SSP programs are coordinated by a Program Leader and advised by the AZA Population Management Center (PMC), a group of scientific advisors based at Lincoln Park Zoo. The PMC regularly (often annually) analyzes a population’s demographics and genetics and works with the SSP Program Leader to develop a breeding and transfer plan that includes detailed recommendations for each individual within the population. After a 30-day comment period, the PMC distributes the finalized breeding and transfer recommendations to each institution cooperating in the SSP and the institutions act upon the recommendations in the following months.

Since 2000, the PMC has issued thousands of recommendations to hundreds of institutions; however there is no systematic evaluation of the recommendation outcomes. Was an animal actually transferred? Was the pair put together to breed? If a recommendation wasn’t carried out, was it because of logistical issues, communication problems, or reproductive problems with the animals themselves? To address these issues, scientists at the Lincoln Park Zoo and the PMC developed PMCTrack with a three-year year Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant. PMCTrack is a web-based database and monitoring system designed to collect feedback and evaluate the outcomes of breeding and transfer recommendations. PMCTrack will provide the data necessary to make informed changes and improvements in AZA’s population management strategies.

PMCTrack compiles data on all previously published final plans. This historic data provides an understanding of the baseline rates of recommendation fulfillment. As more plans are completed in the future, PMCTrack will be used by Program Leaders and the PMC to pinpoint management challenges that need to be addressed with more research, to track whether rates of recommendation fulfillment improve over time, and to understand more about each managed program, as well as how the AZA management system works across programs.

PMCTrack provides restricted access to specific users involved in SSP management and coordination; the types of information each user can view is based on their role and program affiliations, which ensures the privacy and appropriate use of the information gathered within the monitoring system. PMC staff, Program Leaders (SSP Coordinators), Institutional Representatives, Institutional Liaisons, and Taxonomic Advisory Group (TAG) Chairs use PMCTrack to monitor and better understand the status of cooperatively managed programs. PMCTrack provides users with these exciting features:

  • Role-based dashboards: Everyone involved with a particular SSP program has a personalized dashboard. Dashboards provide a quick snapshot of current program status and summarized statistics.
  • Reports: Detailed reports are tailored to each person’s role within a managed program – e.g. Institutional Liaisons will be able to view information on their institution’s participation in SSPs and Program Leaders will be able to view information on their program’s management. Reports give summary information about the SSP programs and their planning history, and recommendation outcomes for SSPs. Reports include filtering capabilities as well as Excel export for further analysis or printing.
  • “Wants/Needs Survey”: An updated and standardized “Wants/Needs Survey” can be used to collect important information from Institutional Representatives and collates the data for Program Leaders to use while planning with the PMC.
  • “Outcomes Survey”: The new “Outcomes Survey” collects feedback from Institutional Representatives about the outcomes of the previous breeding and transfer recommendations. The reasons for the unfulfilled outcomes are collated for Program Leaders and the PMC to consider and make informed management decisions.

PMCTrack provides the necessary tools and data to understand, monitor, and improve AZA’s cooperative population management system and, ultimately, the long-term population viability for species across AZA institutions. We look forward to your involvement with PMCTrack!

If you have any further questions, please contact us at pmctrack(at)lpzoo.org.


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