Many Hooves. One Herd.
Though distinct committees in their own right, the seven AZA Ungulate Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs) - Antelope & Giraffe TAG; Caprinae TAG; Deer TAG; Equid TAG; Tapir TAG; Wild Cattle & Camelid TAG; and Wild Pig, Peccary & Hippo TAG - have drawn inspiration from the biology of species they represent to develop a model of collaboration. Consider the Great Migration across the Masai Mara: many species following their own unique biological imperatives, yet convergence into a more biologically diverse “macro-herd” confers various advantages to the species assembled. Zebras grazing on mature grasses expose higher quality shoots for the eager ruminants following in their wake; predator awareness is enhanced by “sharing intel” across taxa; water and other resources can be found by following your strange neighbors.
The Ungulate TAGs have found similar synergy in herding together to discuss shared needs, interests and challenges. The resulting macro-herd partnership pools their limited resources, generates interest and idea-sharing across TAG boundaries, maximizes productivity with the limited corps of available AZA volunteers and ensures that there is no duplication of effort.
Great outcomes have resulted from this approach, including the development of one collaborative Ungulate Animal Care Manual (rather than six independent ones); an annual joint Ungulate TAG midyear working meeting; and most recently, the development of the new Ungulate Care workshops, offering hands-on instruction in hoofstock care at several different AZA facilities. The TAGs also collaborate to overcome challenges that are common across two or more of the taxa, such as ruminant importation issues that complicate the transfer of new animals into our managed populations from other regions.
Like the species in the Great Migration, each Ungulate TAG maintains its independence while benefiting from collaboration. They have their own Steering Committees, unique managed programs, Regional Collection Plans, priority ex-situ and in-situ projects, and goals and priorities. This site serves as a base for the individual and cooperative efforts of these TAGs.