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How We Keep Track


With over 5000 animals at the Zoo, someone needs to keep track of them! The registrars maintain and develop the entire Conservation, Education and Research database.

The registrars are the Toronto Zoo contacts for the Species 360. They provide data on relevant Toronto Zoo animals to the International and National Studbooks, as well as correspond and provide data on SSP® species at the Zoo. Finally, the Toronto Zoo registrars serve as the AZA International Studbook Keepers for the Puerto Rican crested toad.

Species 360

Species 360 is a computer-based information system used by the worldwide zoological community. The Species 360 central database contains information on 2 million animals - almost 10,000 species - held in zoological institutions, and some animals in the wild. Species 360 members use basic biologic information (age, sex, parentage, place of birth, circumstance of death, etc.) collected in the Species 360 system to manage genetic and demographic programs for their animal collections. Species 360 also allows participants to have access to other institutions' animal records thus allowing curators and registrars to look up the history of any animal registered with Species 360. This incredible system allows zoos to keep track of genetically valuable species, follow illnesses in animals, and keep up to date with our past furry visitors.

Check out the website at

International and National Studbooks

A studbook is a true record of the history of a population held in a zoo or aquarium, and is used for monitoring and managing populations those populations. It includes ancestry of animals, and a listing of the various locations in which animals have been held. Studbooks also contain a wealth of other information: data on the general biology and ecology of the species, and the status and distribution of wild populations. The data is used to make breeding decisions, so that genetic variation can be retained and close inbreeding avoided. The data can also be used to assess whether a population is stable, increasing, or decreasing in numbers. Currently, 64 mammals, 32 birds, 18 reptiles, 4 amphibians, 3 fishes, and 1 invertebrate make a total of 122 Toronto Zoo species with studbooks.

Current editions of many studbooks, including that of the Puerto Rican crested toad, are now available online via the AZA website.

Species Survival Plan (SSP)®

The Species Survival Plan program began in 1981 as a population management and conservation program for selected species in zoos and aquariums across North America. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Zoo staff members carry out research on associated topics, such as habitat protection and nutritional and reproductive needs, to supplement these programs. The 43 SSPs® with which the Zoo is involved reflect the Zoo's commitment to conservation.