What is SPA?
Why was SPA formed?
Who participates in SPA?
How does SPA Work?
The SPA metapopulation works by bringing together diverse participants and their herds of ungulate to form a strong metapopulation. Initially after consultation with population biologists we are working to build population numbers of 1000 animals in each of our program species. In the long term the goal is to build that population up to 2500+ animals per species to ensure true long-term viability.
What in situ conservation Programs does SPA support?
How does the SPA population help species in their native range?
The SPA metapopulation helps their counterparts in native range countries in several ways.
- Acting as an insurance population to prevent extinction.
- Serving as a source for genetically diverse animals for reintroduction projects back to a specie's native lands. An example of this is the involvement of SPA participant facilities in the SCF Scimitar-horned Oryx reintroduction project in Chad.
- The SPA metapopulation allows leading scientists an accessible group of animals to study to further our knowledge of these species and their biological characteristics. The knowledge gained from this research may one day be essential for the preservation of wild populations.
Why is large herd management important?
How is the SPA Metapopulation managed?
The SPA metapopulation is managed with a flexible management structure. SPA does not interfere with any existing zoological association breeding program that a participant may be involved in like an AMP or SSP. Each January SPA takes a census of the population levels of our program participants in our ten species. Participants provide overall population numbers broken down by gender, as well as number of animals over one year of age, effective breeding population, and number of offspring produced in the past year. This information is used in our work with population modeling specialists to determine the viability of the overall population.
In SPA's effort to promote large herd management, one of the recommendations we make to our participants is to practice bull rotation every three years. Through SPA's genomics program we are able to identify how related one participant's herd is to another, allowing them to make an informed decision on where to source a new herd bull from.