Breeding Programs in Zoos
A Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a science based population management program. AZA accredited facilities have had great success breeding African penguins. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore alone has hatched over 1,000 chicks since 1967! 53 AZA member institutions participate in the African Penguin Species Survival Plan, exhibiting close to 1150 penguins.
The percentage of gene diversity of the African Penguin SSP population is over 98%, equivalent to that found in 36 unrelated individuals. Models show in 100 years from now this value will drop by only 1% indicating that the population is genetically very healthy. The African Penguin SSP has been part of AZA since 1995. In the last five years the population has grown on average by nearly 4%.