Who is the Ape TAG?

The Ape TAG is a completely volunteer organization administered by a group of professionals that care about apes and ape issues. Find out more about the people behind the TAG and the subcommittees that they manage.




TAG members can find important information about TAG activities and partnerships here.







There are currently 46 TAGs managed within AZA, covering taxa as diverse as pangolins to penguins, freshwater fishes, and raptors, to name a few.






About the Ape TAG

What is a TAG?

A taxon is a related group of animals such as bears, cats, or apes. A Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is made up of zoo professionals and other individuals who work together to facilitate discussion of critical issues that apply to entire groups (taxa) of related species. These issues range from animal husbandry to ethical issues and everything in between. TAGs assist the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in management, conservation and research issues including the selection of species for conservation programs, the development of regional collection plans, and establishing priorities for exhibition. TAGs are also involved with examining animal management techniques based on scientific studies and assisting SSP (Species Survival Plan®) coordinators in the management of their species.


What is the Ape TAG?

The AZA Ape TAG was formed in 1993 as the Great Ape TAG and became the Ape TAG in 1997. The primary mission of the Ape TAG is to coordinate and facilitate the captive management of apes across the ape SSPs and support the in situ conservation of apes and education about apes at AZA facilities. Our areas of long-term focus include: genetic and demographic management, conservation, education, research, and husbandry and well-being. Progress in these areas is achieved through a variety of subcommittees, each led by a steering committee member of the TAG.

The Ape TAG is comprised of the five ape SSPs: bonobos, chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans. SSPs are cooperative population management and conservation programs for selected species in zoos and aquariums in North America. Each SSP manages the breeding and management of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Additionally, SSPs work to ensure that the physical and psychological needs of individual animals are met by developing best practices for management and husbandry.



Who is the Ape TAG?

The core of the TAG is made up of institutional representatives from each zoo holding apes. In addition, the TAG has a number of advisors on issues important to the management of apes.

The current steering committee is:

Name Institution
Tara Stoinski (Chair & Treasurer) Zoo Atlanta
Tracy Fenn (Vice Chair) Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Stephanie Braccini (Secretary) Saint Louis Zoo
Meredith Bastian Philadelphia Zoo
Malu Celli Calgary Zoo, Botantical Garden and Prehistoric Park
Jennifer Davis Oregon Zoo
Dusty Lombardi Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Lisa New Knoxville Zoological Gardens
Jan Rafert Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens
Jennifer Rudnick-Volz Cosely Zoo
Jay Stutz Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Barbara Weber Disney's Animal Kingdom
SSP Coordinators (Non Voting Members)
Kristen Lukas - Gorillas Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Lori Perkins - Orangutans Zoo Atlanta
Jay Petersen - Gibbons Chicago Zoological Society
Gay Reinartz - Bonobos Milwaukee Zoological Society
Steve Ross - Chimpanzees Lincoln Park Zoo


The current advisory committee is:
Education Team Nadine Kocanjer Disney's Animal Kingdom
Leah Melber Lincoln Park Zoo
Connie Kassner Cameron Park Zoo
Sandi Linn Central Florida Zoo
Veterinary Pam Dennis Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Pathology Linda Lowenstine University of California at Davis
Biomaterials Richard Bergl North Carolina Zoo
Animal Welfare Joseph Barber
Contraception Ingrid Porton St. Louis Zoo
Small Population Management Advisory Group (SPMAG) Lori Perkins Zoo Atlanta
Sanctuaries Tammie Bettinger Disney's Animal Kingdom


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