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Service Joins AZA to Launch MassasaugaSpecies Survival Plan
Midwest Region, August 17, 2007
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Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus c. catenatus) from Illinois. 
- Copyrighted photo by Michael RedmerĀ©.
Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus c. catenatus) from Illinois.

- Copyrighted photo by Michael RedmerĀ©.

- Photo Credit: n/a

  On August 16-17, Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo hosted the inaugural meeting of North American Zoos interested in participating in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (EMR, Sistrurus c. catenatus).  

The SSP invited the Fish and Wildlife Service to contribute staff as observers and participants to the SSP process. 

The Service's Chicago Illinois Field Office (CIFO) is the agency lead for EMR, and biologist Mike Redmer attended the two-day meeting.  Both the Service and AZA members hope that their shared interest in this species and combined planning efforts for the captive population will lead to other collaborative projects (e.g., monitoring wild populations, assessing genetic diversity and health) to ensure the long-term conservation of this unique snake.

The EMR is a candidate for Federal listing as an endangered or threatened species.  Late in 2006, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) determined that there was sufficient interest in this species and approved formation of a Species Survival Plan for the EMR. 

Dr. Joanne Earnhardt (Lincoln Park Zoo) is serving as the current chair of the SSP, with Mr. Jeff Ettling (St. Louis Zoo) serving as Vice Chair.   Member institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) represented at the meeting, included the St. Louis Zoo, Toronto Zoo, Milwaukee Zoo, Fort Wayne Zoo, Seneca Park Zoo, Racine Zoo, and the AZA's Population Management Center.  Several other AZA member institutions have indicated an interest in participating in future SSP activities for EMR, but were unable to attend the first meeting. 

Dr. Earnhardt summarized the goals of the SSP "As with all SSP's the eastern massasauga rattlesnake SSP will work to enhance management of the population in zoos and the conservation of the species in the wild."

 


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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