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Want to learn more about Source Population Alliance (SPA)? Please email for more information.

Source Population

A sustainable population of wildlife that serves as a dependable reservoir for ex situ (captive) and in situ (wild) conservation and utilization.

One of every four species on the planet is threatened by extinction. Historically, biodiversity has been preserved by attempting to save habitat in the species’ native environment (an in situ approach). However, the loss of habitat has become so great that it is essential to explore every means to save species, including management under human care. These resulting ex situ “source populations” can be another active force for species conservation. They allow:

  • Managing species for long term sustainability, including providing security (insurance) populations for wild counterparts.
  • Increasing public awareness.
  • Raising funds for conservation, including in nature.
  • Research and the generation of new knowledge that has management/conservation benefits.
  • Serving as a supply of animals for reintroductions into the wild.

To be truly viable and useful to conservation, these ex situ populations must be sustainable and able to withstand or avoid the potential hazards of fluctuating birth and death rates, shifts in species interests/priorities, sex-ratio skews, and deleterious impacts of inbreeding.

What is the Source Population Alliance?

One way to better ensure the survival of species is by building connectivity between populations that collectively represent a sustainable, larger “meta-population”. This is being achieved through the Source Population Alliance (SPA), a group of credible, experienced participants who dedicate unique resources to produce viable populations of selected species. Alliance participants come from the private and public sectors and share the common goal of contributing to populations of selected species through improved animal utilization that: (1) produces more funds for conservation, management, scientific research, and self-sustainability, (2) improves public awareness, and (3) returns populations to their native habitat.

MISSION: Create and preserve sustainable wildlife populations long term using a combined private/public sector alliance.

How does it work?

Participants are connected by a common commitment to the conservation of wildlife species. Participants include representation from the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), the private sector, the public sector, and members from various associations. Participation is by invitation only and includes those individuals and institutions who are willing to dedicate and sustainably manage a minimum number of effective (breeding age) animals as part of the SPA meta-population.

What is C2S2?

C2S2 logoFormed in 2005, the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2) is a collaborative effort of conservation breeding centers and like-minded institutions with an explicit purpose – to cooperatively apply and develop their unique resources for the survival of threatened species with special needs – large areas, natural group sizes, minimal public disturbance, and research. By combining their scientific and management expertise, these centers work towards the C2S2 mission to provide leadership in studying and creating self-sustaining populations ex situ and in situ of some of the world’s most endangered species. C2S2 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Glen Rose, Texas.