From KERA News:
A colony of 11 penguins calls the Dallas Zoo home. They’re in the midst of their breeding season.
Kevin Graham, the zoo’s associate curator of birds and ectotherms, is counting on four bonded pairs to lay viable eggs. Graham said his colony is, in part, responsible for the survival of the entire species.
“If the worst happens and extinction crisis becomes imminent, we have a population that could be the reservoir,” Graham said.
The Dallas Zoo is part of an international cooperative called the Species Survival Plan Program. Its goal is to manage vulnerable ex-situ— or captive — populations.
The SSP identifies animals at risk of extinction and develops a Breeding and Transfer Plan between facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The program is managed by expert advisors who work cooperatively to maximize genetic diversity.