(The Desert Cottontail is an SSP animal.)
The Species Survival Plan program began in 1981 as 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. Currently, 107 SSPs covering 155 individual species are administered by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, whose membership includes 205 accredited zoos and aquariums throughout North America.