We are in the midst of a species extinction crisis like no other in history. The full implications of continued mass loss of animals on our planet are unknown, with the potential for far-reaching, catastrophic impacts to our environment and our own future. Historical approaches for preserving biodiversity have centered on saving habitat and protecting species living in these native wild places (in situ). The magnitude of the species crisis has become so great that it now is essential to explore more in-human-care (ex situ) initiatives. Ex situ populations can, and must, be active forces for species conservation.


To address this crisis, the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2) brings together the collective expertise of large-sized institutions committed to endangered species study, management, and recovery.    In the species extinction crisis, C2S2 has a crucial and unique role to play, through (1) Creating secure populations of endangered species, (2) Conducting the priority research that will enable source populations and in-range populations to prosper, and (3) Creating and facilitating networks of people across sectors taking action for conservation.


The need for significant space capacity necessitates the development of more big centers of breeding excellence, both in the public and private sectors. Private landowners in the US are an essential, powerful, and underutilized force for conservation. Because almost 60% of all US lands (and 95% of the land in Texas) is owned privately, it is only through strong public/private partnerships that species sustainability can be addressed on a global scale. C2S2 develops frameworks and standardized plans/processes for collaborative conservation actions across stakeholder groups. Working together, zoos, conservation centers, private landowners, and the government have the fundamental assets needed to create genetically diverse, secure assurance populations of the most endangered species.


In 2005, five of the world’s top endangered species’ breeding and management centers, including Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and White Oak Conservation, came together to form the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), a consortium dedicated to developing novel and data-driven programs to sustain populations of species considered endangered.  The consortium cooperatively applies its unique resources for the survival of species with unique needs, especially pertaining to large areas, natural group sizes, minimal public disturbance, and scientific research.

Board and Advisors

C2S2’s boards are composed of experts in conservation biology, reproduction, reintroduction science, animal care and management, and natural resource management.

Board of Directors

Dan Cassidy, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE

James Gregory (Treasurer), Austin Savanna in Austin, TX

Jan Ramer, The Wilds in Cumberland, OH

Kelley Snodgrass, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, TX

Mike Takacs (Chair Elect/Secretary), African Lion Safari in Hamilton, ON, Canada

David Wildt, PhD (Chairman/President), Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA

Board Observers

Dan Beetem, The Wilds in Cumberland, OH

Charlie Gray, African Lion Safari in Hamilton, ON, Canada

Justin Gregory, Austin Savanna in Austin, TX

Holly Haefele, DVM, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, TX

Gareth Morgan, African Lion Safari in Hamilton, ON, Canada

Budhan Pukazhenthi, B.V.SC., PhD, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA

Steve Shurter, White Oak Conservation in Yulee, FL

Advisory Board

Craig Allenby, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa

Evan Blumer, OsoMono Ltd in Gahanna, OH

Nicole Cavender, The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL

Amy Chabot, African Lion Safari in Hamilton, ON, Canada

Peter Clark, Monarto Zoo in Monarto South, SA, Australia

Adrienne Crosier, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA

Joe deGraauw, Nashville Zoo in Nashville, TN

Nick Boyle, Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia

Susie Ellis, International Rhino Foundation in Strasburg, VA

Gina Ferrie, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, FL

Lewis Greene, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, OH

Jack Grisham, Saint Louis Zoo in Saint Louis, MO

Sara Hallager, Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC

Larry Killmar, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL

John Lukas, Wildlife Conservation Global/Okapi Conservation Project in Jacksonville, FL

Regina Mossotti, Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, MO

Lauren Zarama, InKemia Green Chemicals in Houston, TX

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