Studbooks are the most important tool in scientifically managing ex situ populations of wild animals, ensuring their sufficient size, demographic stability and high level of genetic diversity.
Studbook keepers maintain the pedigree and demographic history of a specifically defined taxon such as the genus, species, sub-species or other specific captive population. Studbooks contain the registration number of each animal of the particular species kept under human care, its sex and birthdate, the identity of its parents, where it was born and where (and when) it was transferred to other institutions.
Studbooks also catalogue any births, captures, transfers, deaths and releases during the reporting period. Other information important to the management of the species is also included, such as rearing information or behavioural traits affecting the ability to join a breeding programme, and, ultimately, causes of death.
A location glossary tracks the names, addresses and contact information for all historic and current holders, thereby promoting communication between the various holders and the studbook keeper.
WAZA’s policy is that all studbooks managed under the auspices of, and on behalf of, a recognised studbook authority (whether WAZA or a WAZA member association) are to be developed for the collective benefit. The studbook dataset should be made available to the zoo and aquarium community in the most useful and globally compatible format.
International studbooks for endangered and rare species are kept under the auspices of WAZA and are overseen by the Committee for Population Management (CPM), in collaboration with Species360. They represent the highest level of global monitoring and management and provide a valuable service to the zoological community.
Currently, there are more than 130 active international studbooks, including more than 140 species or sub-species.
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.