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The Zoo participates in a number of these AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) programs. Species Survival Plans connect zoos worldwide in the interest of helping the plight of endangered species through captive breeding, habitat preservation, public education and scientific research.

By encouraging captive breeding as a source of animals that can become available to zoos, the wildlife counterparts are spared to remain in their natural setting. These effects have resulted in current North American zoo populations where over 90% of the mammals and 70% of the birds have been bred in captivity. Eleven of the SSPs that have homes at the Santa Ana Zoo are: cotton-top tamarins, golden-lion tamarins, golden-headed lion tamarins, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, ring-tail lemurs, black lemurs, white-handed gibbons, spider monkeys, silver langurs, giant anteaters, and black-and-white colobus. The Zoo also supports the Brazilian Ocelot Consortium to assist in the conservation and habitat preservation for this endangered South American cat.

The Zoo is an active member of this program that supports, coordinates and markets environment educational programs. It also ties the Zoo to a variety of local conservation projects.

The opening of the Crean Family Farm in 2004 provided the opportunity to bring this unique program to the Zoo. Focusing on domestic breeds that are endangered, the Zoo is bringing rare animals into the facility for breeding and public education. Animals of this type presently residing at the Zoo include: jacob sheep, Hog Island sheep, churro-navajo sheep, Nigerian dwarf goats, a dexter cow, San Clemente Island goats, Narragansett turkeys, buttercup chickens, saxony ducks, an Exmoor pony, and American buff geese.

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