AZA-Level Coordination, Integration, and Communication
When the AZA Wildlife Contraception Center was renamed the AZA Reproductive Management Center (RMC) in 2015, AZA requested that the RMC integrate and work more closely with relevant AZA Scientific Advisory Groups (SAGs) and Committees toward addressing population-level threats to sustainability. This expanded scope will also foster a closer partnership between the RMC and the AZA Population Management Center (PMC), as we work together to help AZA SSP Programs reach their goals by increasing breeding success, while temporarily limiting reproduction in individuals recommended not to breed.
In spring 2016, the RMC hosted the first planning meeting for Chairs or a designated representative from each of the relevant AZA SAGs (Avian, Behavior, Biomaterials and Banking, Nutrition, Reproduction and Endocrine, Small Population Management) and Committees (Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Research and Technology, Wildlife Conservation and Management) and the PMC. The goal of the meeting was to develop the scope of the RMC, identify priorities and action items, and discuss tools that could be used to sustainably manage AZA Animal Programs. The group will meet annually and conduct quarterly conference calls to develop collaborative and integrated projects that incorporate the expertise from this diverse group of experts, focused on animal population sustainability.
In addition to coordinating the efforts of AZA SAGs and Committees, communication with the broader zoo and aquarium community is a vital component of the RMC’s mission. Types of communication include:
- Attending AZA conferences to present to AZA Taxonomic Advisory Group (TAG) and Species Survival Plan (SSP) meetings, and to participate in the meetings of other SAGs and Committees
- Reaching out to the veterinary community by attending and giving presentations at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) and Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians (AZVT) conferences
- Contributing to publications, such as AZA Connect and the AZVT newsletter
- Providing contraception data to the PMC prior to SSP planning meetings so that the number of breeding recommendations can be adjusted to account for likely time to reversal following contraceptive treatment
- Contributing contraception and reproductive management sections to Animal Care Manuals and SSP Breeding and Transfer Plans