Sustainability Programs

These global initiatives leverage scientific expertisespace, and resources at the Conservation Centers to increase and achieve demographically and genetically stable populations of endangered species. Building on populations in North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), C2S2 is taking a ‘One Plan’ approach, as defined by the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  This approach links conservation breeding populations to their counterparts in the range country, supporting and growing the quality and quantity of the species wherever it occurs.


Cheetah Sustainability Program

Since 1990, the wild cheetah population has decreased by nearly 85% and currently is comprised of about 7,000 to 10,000 individuals whose natural habitat and prey base are declining. C2S2 and AZA-accredited zoos are partnering to achieve the goals of sustainability and conservation of a North American assurance population for cheetah.

The program leverages the substantial space and research expertise offered by the conservation centers and the knowledge that cheetahs reproduce better in spacious, non-public environments. The breeding centers each contribute an average of $30,000 annually in-kind towards achieving program goals. Cheetah Conservation Partners are zoos that donate annually to support sustainability and growth of the global population.

During 2014 and 2015, 18 cheetah cubs were born at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, 16 at San Diego Zoo Global, and 13 at White Oak Conservation. The program also provides Cheetah Sustainability Grants of up to $10,000 for research supporting the sustainability of cheetah populations in the wild.

2016 CHEETAH CONSERVATION BREEDING CENTERS: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari/Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Saint Louis Zoo, San Diego Zoo Global/San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, White Oak Conservation, the Wilds/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, and Wildlife Safari.

2016 CHEETAH CONSERVATION PARTNERS: Brevard Zoo, Birmingham Zoo, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Dallas Zoo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Houston Zoo, Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, Philadelphia Zoo, Phoenix Zoo, Scovill Zoo, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, and Wildlife Conservation Society.



Crane Sustainability Initiatives

Collectively, the Conservation Centers have experience in maintaining and breeding various species of cranes. Despite being highly revered for their beauty and their interesting and complex behavior, cranes are one of the most endangered groups of birds.  Recent counts predict that as many as eleven of the fifteen crane species worldwide are threatened.

C2S2 is focused on creating a self-sustaining population of wattled cranes as a model that can then be applied more broadly to other crane species under threat. A workshop led by C2S2 was held in May 2012 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) that trained avian curators at the Conservation Centers on artificial insemination (AI) techniques for crane species. As a result, Conservation Centers have increased productivity through AI techniques. Out of this increased production at the Conservation Centers, the AZA wattled crane population is on track to grow this year.

PARTICIPATING C2S2 INSTITUTIONS: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, San Diego Zoo Global,  and White Oak Conservation