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What is a studbook?

A studbook is a true record of the history of a captive population. It includes pedigrees of animals and a listing of the various locations in which animals have been held and traces the entire history of each individual in a population.

Studbooks also contain data on the general biology and ecology of the species, the status and distribution of wild populations, as well as a bibliography of relevant publications. Studbooks may either be regional (for example, the North American regional studbook) or international in scope.

Studbooks are primarily used for monitoring and managing populations in zoos and aquariums. They provide an accurate database for particular species that allows detailed genetic and demographic analyses. The data can also be used to assess whether a population is stable, increasing, or decreasing in numbers.

The National Zoo has been keeping the kori bustard studbook since 1993 when it was first approved as a North American Regional studbook. In 1997, the studbook became international in scope.

History of Kori Bustards at National Zoo

The first kori bustard at the National Zoo was a wild caught individual that was received in 1961. Over the next 30 years, the Zoo exhibited kori bustards sporadically.

In 1997, the Zoo saw its first kori bustard chick hatch. With this hatching, the Zoo became the fifth zoo in the world to breed this species. Since 1997, more than 40 chicks have hatched at the Zoo.

Species Survival Plan

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) program is a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species in zoos and aquariums in North America. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Beyond this, SSPs participate in a variety of other cooperative conservation activities, such as research, public education, reintroduction and field projects. Kori bustards have been managed at the SSP level since January 2002.

Sara Hallager, a biologist at the National Zoo, is the SSP Coordinator and International Studbook Keeper for kori bustards.

Compiled by Sara Hallager, SSP Coordinator for the Kori Bustard Studbook