Trunkline Magazine (Louisville Zoo) Trunkline Magazine: September 2017 | Page 5

A forklift transports all 415 pounds of Mshindi. and create a safeguard for animals facing extinction in the vanishing wild. During the time your Zoo is a home to animals like Mshindi and Casey, we commit to providing ex- cellent care and stimulating environ- ments to enhance their well-being and enrich the quality of their lives. It’s a tremendous responsibility on behalf of the individual animals and the species as a whole — a respon- sibility we embrace as a conserva- tion organization. This brings us back to why animals like gorillas are relocated from time to time. There are many reasons: for breeding opportunities, to take advantage of new exhibits or surrogacy programs at other zoos, or even to create more co- hesive and healthier family groups. When the SSP team recommends a move, it factors in the specific needs of the animal, as well as those of the entire population. We’ll discuss Mshindi's specific scenario in a bit. So, who are these mysterious experts behind the SSP curtain deciding which animals need to move where and when? I decided to dig into this with our Assistant Director of Conservation, Education & Collections, Steve Taylor. While I consider myself a reasonably intel- Registrars Some of the groups and individuals working together to manage these amazing animals. Steering Committee AZA Veterinarians Approved Small Population Mgt. Advisory Group Advisor PMC Adjunct Advisor Eduation Advisor Population Biologists Population Management Center (PMC) Taxon Advisory Group SSP Program Leaders Regional Stupbook Keepers Louisville Metro Animal Services donated the use of their truck to transport Mshindi to his new home. Nutrition Advisor Wildlife Conservaton & Management Committee Reproductive Managment Center Pathology Advisor Studbook Analysts Species Survival Plan Team (SSP) Moving Company Reproduction Advisor Institutional Representatives (Zoo Keepers) Airline SSP Liason ligent individual, the complexity of the process made my head spin. So, here’s the short and skinny of it. A number of experts, from within AZA Institutions and outside conserva- tion partners, individually as well as in committees and groups, perform copious amounts of research on ani- mal backgrounds, health, lineage, previous transfers, births, deaths, bloodlines and disposition, breed- ing history, institution resources and capacities, remaining wild popula- tions, group behavioral composition and more. Then, they weigh in on how AZA-institutions can do the most good collectively and where our managed populations need the most help. Is your head spinning yet? I am just beginning to understand the magnitude and complexity of the responsibility of AZA institutions like the Louisville Zoo. An updated SSP is created every year for many species — the ones that can be best helped through breeding programs in AZA zoos and aquariums. So, at any time, animals from 500 spe- cies could be moving to and from different zoos and aquariums. Talk about serious logistical expertise and planning! After a move like our recent go- rilla transfer is finally recommended, the zoos involved begin the process of sorting out HOW to safely trans- port the animals. I’m not a zoo keeper (I just write Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Fall 2017 • 5