Collection Planning Tools

Ambassador Animal Planning Tools

This page features examples of how to investigate feasibility of a species as an ambassador, sample collection plans, or tools for planning ambassador collections.

  • Ambassador Animal Guidelines– AAGs are under development or in place and are great resources for ambassador animals. See the AAG page for more details on what they are and the process for creating them.
  • AZA Animal Programs
    • Animal Care Manuals– there are a number of ACMs available or in development that are written for species that may also be appropriate as an ambassador. ACMs may or may not include detailed sections about using that species as an ambassador. This is where the AAGs come into place and can supplement this document.
    • Regional Collection Plans and Breeding and Transfer Plans available through AZA website and many (ex: Rodent, Insectivore, Lagomorph TAG) have fact sheets in their RCPs or BTPs. Log into your AZA account for access to these full documents.
    • Studbooks
  • SSPs & Program Leaders
  • Institutional Representatives (IRs)– may have great contacts for sourcing animals and know who ARE and ARE NOT appropriate ambassadors or reputable sources.
  • SSP Sustainability Reports– “snapshot” documents for all SSP species that are quick overviews of the species with notes about husbandry, housing needs, ability to mix with other species, and some note whether the species has been used as an ambassador (note just because it *has* been used, doesn’t mean it’s always an appropriate choice).
  • Collection Planning Example Documents – example planning documents from other institutions.
  • Ambassador Animal Network Pages– listserv in MyAZA Network Pages. Use the search feature to search for the species you’re interested in adding to your ambassador team. There likely has been a discussion for many of the more common species. Otherwise, post your questions and get some feedback from the community!
  • Please find more on the former PARIS Animal Evaluation Tool below.

Program Animal Rating & Information System

(formerly PARIS)

This evaluation tool was developed by the Ambassador Animal Scientific Advisory Group in 2013 to assist people in selecting animals that will be the best fit for their programs. While the AASAG is no longer driving this tool as a primary planning tool or continuing to use it as an evaluation measure with the development of the AARIC pages, we wanted to keep this as an available resource  for those institutions still looking to utilize it. 

This tool is flexible so that is can be tailored to your individual goals and needs. Use the Program Animal Rating and Information System (PARIS) rating system, information from the AZA Ambassador Animal Group, Listservs and TAG/SSP contacts to help gather information that you will need to best utilize this tool.

Ambassador Animal Evaluation Tool

PARIS Rating System

Rating Results

The PARIS rating system ranked species on their suitability for use in program animal collections. Results from program animal professionals across AZA are analyzed so viewers can get a basic idea of how their colleagues feel about particular species with regards for use in program animal collections.

Currently, PDFs of the results are posted on this page. Due to the large amount of data involved, the results pages were broken up by taxonomic group. The “Other” group includes amphibians, invertebrates, and fish.

The data for this tool was last updated as of 31 July 2013.

Note: the ideas shared on this site come from individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or the AZA-accredited facilities employing those individuals. Recommendations on this site about specific program animals may be a compilation of best practices from multiple organizations. Any injuries or illnesses incurred under these suggested guidelines are not the responsibility of the contributors to the Wiki site, the organizations they represent, or AZA.

For more information about AZA’s policies regarding program animals, visit