Species Survival Plans for Toucans at the DWA Zoo

As director of the Zoologico del Istmo in Puerto Lindo, Panama, Jacobo Lacs has earned a global reputation for his knowledge of exotic bird species. Jacobo Lacs collaborates with the Dallas World Aquarium Zoo to develop preservation plans for the green aracari and other toucan breeds.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a nationwide professional organization, currently oversees more than 500 Species Survival Plans across the country. Each of these plans falls under the management of a Taxon Advisory Group, which develops breeding and transfer plans to help captive populations remain healthy, strong in numbers, and genetically diverse. The organization currently oversees reproduction of many of DWA Zoo’s toucan populations, including the green aracari.

Native to South America, the green aracari toucan once struggled in captivity. Over the past 30 years, however, zoos such as DWA have implemented reproduction programs that have hatched enough birds to help the breed become self-sustaining. More than 50 green aracaris have hatched at the DWA Zoo since 2001, and the breed’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) helps to ensure the breed’s continuation. Similar plans also manage the successful reproduction of other Central and South American breeds such as the keel-billed toucan, the Toco toucan, and the Swainson’s toucan.

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