Objectives: Conservation


The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and its members are stewards for wildlife in their animal collections and in the wild. In the 10 states of its current range and in Canada, the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (EMR) is considered endangered, threatened or of special concern. With Massasauga populations in decline across their range, AZA institutions have been working since the early 1990’s with Canadian and U.S. agencies to address conservation of this species. However, threats persist, the species status has not improved, and wild populations continue to decline.  To ensure the long-term survival of the EMR, a secure, viable, healthy population of massasaugas in zoos has become a necessity. Because of concern about conservation of the species, AZA elevated the EMR to the status of Species Survival Plan (SSP) in November 2006.

The purpose of an SSP is to enhance conservation efforts in the field while increasing public awareness through educational programs and exhibits.  An SSP establishes a captive population to assist these goals and as an assurance population for the wild should reintroduction measures be required at some time in the future.

We invite other institutions (e.g., governmental, nature centers, museums) with EMR programs to collaborate with us as we move forward to preserve this species on the North American landscape. If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact the SSP Coordinator.