The Conservancy is an active participant in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program, which is a national cooperative management plan that aims to maximize genetic diversity and appropriately manage the demographic distribution and long-term sustainability of specific species throughout North American zoological facilities.
To date, The Conservancy manages the following species under the SSP Program:
Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo)
Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles)
Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
Red-Breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
Nene Goose (Branta sandvicensis)
Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris)
Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri)
Madagascar Teal (Anas bernieri)
Scaly-Sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus)
Ripley and The Scaly-Sided Merganser Task Force Collaborative
Ripley is proud to support the Scaly Sided Merganser Task Force (SSMTF). The SSMTF is a group which was established to monitor the merganser in the wild. Scaly-sided Mergansers have been dramatically impacted by habitat loss in China and rely more and more on artificial nest boxes to successfully hatch their ducklings each year. The Task Force has been instrumental in the installation and maintenance of 250 nest boxes throughout the mergansers' breeding range in Primorye, Russia.
Yellow-throated marten are the leading cause of nest failure for the merganser in their native home range. Donations to the SSMTF are utilized to implement anti-predator protection around the nest boxes. Spiked wire netting placed below the nest boxes and the surrounding trees has proven to be an effective deterrent for the marten and has improved nesting success. The Scaly Sided Merganser is currently listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Population estimates continue to decline, but with the efforts of the SSMTF we hope to reverse this trend. The Conservancy houses a healthy flock of Scaly-sided Mergansers at our facility. Our birds are managed, along with other flocks kept throughout the country, by private aviculturists and zoos. Breeding pairs are closely monitored to insure genetic diversity. At the Conservancy, birds are kept both on and off exhibit for breeding and educational purposes.
Our support of this project would not be possible without the help of Connecticut decoy carver Bill Embacher. Mr. Embacher donated decoys which were featured in the Conservancy's auction during the Annual Benefit.
The Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) is the largest species of native waterfowl in North America. In the early 1900's, the Trumpeter Swan had declined to the brink of extinction due to market hunting and the millinery trade. To date, the Trumpeter Swan has recovered from the brink of extinction due to captive breeding and reintroduction programs overseen by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and managed through state wildlife agencies. Successful reintroduction programs have occurred in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio.
Ripley is a Conservation Partner with the Iowa Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Starting in 2006, the Conservancy has provided trumpeter swans by providing cygnets and adult swans for release and foster parenting.