Introduction to EAZA Ex situ Programme Management

This course enables those coordinating the EEPs (EAZA Ex situ Programmes) and keepers of ISBs (International Studbooks) and ESBs (European Studbooks) to gain a deeper understanding of the genetics and demographics of breeding programmes. It will give an in-depth introduction into the use of new globally used studbook software (ZIMS for Studbooks) and a first view of the software designed to support the management of breeding programmes to ensure appropriate records are kept and demographic and genetic diversity managed (PMx). The skills and understanding learnt on this course will enable greater confidence and ability in appropriate decision making when managing breeding programmes to help conserve species.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  1. Identify requirements for basic genetic management of populations and how this can be applied to captive populations
  2. Use specialised software to record and analyse demographic information for population management of species
  3. Discuss the practicalities of running a programme
  4. Identify the roles of EAZA and managed programmes in supporting conservation of species


  • Why manage zoo populations
  • Small population management to include mean kinship and genetic inbreeding
  • Population demographics and factors that affect population goals
  • Use of specialist software such as ZIMS and PMx. Introducing web-based tools
  • Working procedures and EAZA structures June 2021
  • Practicalities of running a managed programme, including common problems and how to manage them

There are no formal assessments. We will design activities that test practical knowledge on how reproductive management can be applied to their breeding programmes/collection.

Groups will attend either Monday to Wednesday or Wednesday to Friday. You will be sent pre-course modules and exercises as well as information to read through and practice with before the start of the course to help you prepare (approximately 8-16 hours personal study required). For this course you will need a laptop (ideally a PC) and a reliable internet connection.

How to apply

Online application is by invitation only, prioritising current and incoming EEP and ESB coordinators and their assistants. If you believe you should be on the invitation list please contact with details of your involvement in population management.

More course information can be found here


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