The Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) works with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums across North America to:

  • Maintain sustainable, genetically diverse tiger populations as a “genetic insurance policy” for their wild counterparts
  • Raise awareness about the plight of tigers and funding for their conservation
  • Support research on tiger biology and care

The Tiger SSP manages populations of Amur, Malayan, Sumatran, and generic tigers. Learn more about each of these below:

AMUR TIGER SSP

Coordinator: Tara Harris, Minnesota Zoo

The Amur Tiger SSP is a Green SSP program. This designation indicates that the Amur Tiger SSP population is sustainable long-term and can retain >90% gene diversity over 100 years. It also means that the program is subject to AZA’s Full Participation and Non-member Participation policies.

2014 PROGRAM STATISTICS

Number of participating institutions: 49
Population size: 142
Target population size: 150
Number of founders: 57
Gene diversity retained: 96.2%
Percentage of pedigree known: 100%

Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) are native to the Russian Far East. Fewer than 500 wild individuals are thought to remain.

Amur Tiger

SUMATRAN TIGER SSP

Coordinator: Tara Harris, Minnesota Zoo
Vice Coordinator (program contact): Karen Goodrowe Beck, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The Sumatran Tiger SSP is a Yellow SSP program. This designation indicates that the Sumatran Tiger SSP population consists of more than 50 individuals but is currently unable to retain >90% gene diversity over 100 years.

2014 PROGRAM STATISTICS

Number of participating institutions: 28
Population size: 78
Target population size: 150
Number of founders: 16
Gene diversity retained: 89.6%
Percentage of pedigree known: 100%

Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) are native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Fewer than 500 wild individuals are thought to remain.

Sumatran Tiger

MALAYAN TIGER SSP

Coordinator: Tara Harris, Minnesota Zoo
Vice Coordinator (program contact): Mike Dulaney, Cincinnati Zoo

The Malayan Tiger SSP is a Yellow SSP program. This designation indicates that the Malayan Tiger SSP population consists of more than 50 individuals but is currently unable to retain >90% gene diversity over 100 years. This program is very tightly managed, genetically, to retain maximum genetic diversity from two sets of founders.

2014 PROGRAM STATISTICS

Number of participating institutions: 27
Population size: 59
Target population size: 150
Number of founders: 11
Gene diversity retained: 91.6%
Percentage of pedigree known: 100%

Malayan tigers (Panthera tigris jacksoni) are native to peninsular Malayasia. Fewer than 500 wild individuals are thought to remain.

Malayan Tiger

GENERIC TIGER SSP

Coordinator:Tara Harris, Minnesota Zoo
Vice Coordinator (program contact): Don Goff, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

The Generic Tiger SSP is a Yellow SSP program. This designation indicates that the Generic Tiger SSP population consists of more than 50 individuals. The Generic Tiger SSP differs from the Amur, Malayan, and Sumatran SSPs, in that its goal is to reduce the population of generic tigers in AZA-accredited zoos. This will eventually free space for studbook-registered tigers. A breeding moratorium for generic tigers is now in place.

2014 PROGRAM STATISTICS

Program statistics, 2014
Number of participating institutions: 27
Population size: 59 (excluding generic tigers in an AZA accredited sanctuary)
Target population size: 0

Generic tigers have mixed subspecies ancestry, or a pedigree that cannot be traced to their wild ancestors. All white tigers are considered generic tigers.

Generic Tiger