Species Information

Explore husbandry, management, and welfare of program animals through these pages.



Invertebrates & Aquatic Ambassadors



Welcome to AARIC – the Ambassador Animal Rating and Information Center!

The goal of AARIC is to give program animal managers a space where they can more efficiently research species they are interested in adding to their collection, as well as sharing the combined knowledge of experienced program animal professionals to identify and encourage best practices in program animal management.

There are two parts to this project. The first is a simple rating system developed by the AASAG. Managers from across AZA can use this tool to rate the species in their collection for their suitability in educational programming. This way, collection planning can be viewed at an a glance. Additionally, managers can view results from a previous survey of ambassador animal programs for species ranking.

To download the rating system for your own planning purposes or so that your opinions can be counted, visit the Planning Tools page .

When you have finished filling it out, email it to one of the PARIS Administrators, Marina Haynes, Jacque Williamson or Maureen O’Keefe

Paris Rating System

The second part is a wiki that has more detailed information about each species included in the rating system. This allows managers to pool their experiences and knowledge in order to teach each other about each species. The information on this site will allow managers who are researching a new species to figure out if that species will work at their particular institution. It will also give managers who already have a species in their collection a chance to see how other institutions are caring for that same species – and maybe improve their husbandry or presenting techniques.

Editors from this website come from across the United States, from AZA-accredited institutions both big and small. Every editor is a professional working directly with program animals – educators, keepers, and managers. The diversity in the editor ranks gives the wiki a broad range of information.

If you would like to become involved as a content editor, we’d love to have you aboard – email one of the AARIC Administrators: Jacque Williamson or Maureen O’Keefe

If you are a brand new editor, see this page for some tips about adding new content. As always, contact Stephanie with any questions, concerns, or feedback!

Note: the ideas shared on this wiki 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 AARIC site, the organizations they represent, or AZA. For more information about AZA’s policies regarding program animals, visit https://www.aza.org/education-standards-and-policies/.