Developing a regional collection plan for felids in North America



In 1988 an analysis of inventory information indicated that over 4332 felids were being maintained at ISIS-member zoos world-wide. Many animals were of unknown genetic provenance and of the species that were well represented, most were large cats already managed by studbooks and SSP-type programmes. The Felid TAG developed a North American regional collection plan which recommended that AZA-member zoos conserve threatened species through a nationally co-ordinated management plan while meeting institutional, exhibit and financial needs. The TAG also encouraged AZA zoos to support conservation programmes in other regions and in situ projects. The selection of species for conservation action involved a realistic assessment of founder population size and specimen availability. The plan is flexible and open to change as new information becomes available. In 1995 the number of ‘spaces’ occupied by managed and unmanaged felid species was analysed and a 5 year plan was prepared with separate collection plans for large and small felids.