AZA Antelope & Giraffe TAG

According to the IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group, an alarming 62% of the world’s 91 antelope species are experiencing decreasing population trends.  Giraffe and okapi populations are also facing serious declines.  AZA accredited zoos have an obligation as stewards of a part of the world’s natural heritage to ensure the survival of these species for future generations by providing both ex situ and in situ conservation support.  By providing safety net assurance populations and in situ conservation support zoos can do their part to make sure these unique and beautiful species do not vanish from our zoos and from our planet.


AZA Antelope and Giraffe TAG Mission Statement

To provide leadership and guidance to AZA institutions regarding the management and care of
antelope, pronghorn, giraffe and okapi and to facilitate activities and programs
that support their conservation in the wild.


 About the TAG 

Goals of the AZA Antelope and Giraffe TAG

The following goals are priorities for the AZA Antelope and Giraffe TAG:

  • To develop and maintain sustainable ex situ populations of antelope, pronghorn, giraffe and okapi in cooperation with our partners nationally and internationally.

  • To develop and expand education programs which promote in situ and ex situ antelope, pronghorn, giraffe and okapi awareness and conservation.

  • To support in situ research and conservation efforts that enhance and protect wild antelope, pronghorn, giraffe and okapi populations and their habitats, and to link these efforts to our ex situ programs as possible.

  • To advance the management and husbandry of AZA antelope, pronghorn, giraffe and okapi populations through scientific investigation.

  • To provide support for global reintroduction efforts, and provide animals when needed.


The AZA Antelope and Giraffe TAG was initiated in 1992.  This TAG serves as an advisory group to AZA accredited facilities on matters related to zoo and field conservation of antelope, pronghorn, giraffe and okapi.  The primary intent of this TAG is to provide guidance and recommendations to its institutions regarding the care and preservation of antelope populations in AZA, and their short and long term contributions to global antelope conservation. This will be accomplished by identifying species with conservation, education, and exhibition priorities, and making recommendations to establish studbooks and Species Survival Plans® (SSPs) while supporting other global captive and in situ programs identified by the IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (ASG).

The Antelope and Giraffe TAG’s organization of antelope found in AZA accredited zoos into subgroups does not follow traditional taxonomic groupings. Instead, this TAG has attempted to categorize antelope species by management factors; i.e., species having common zoo management and husbandry methods and areas of expertise. To accomplish this, the Antelope and Giraffe TAG has divided all of the species under its purview into one of six categories: Forest/Woodland Antelope, Small Antelope, Hartebeests, Waterbucks, Aridland Antelope, Gazelles and Pronghorn, and Giraffe/Okapi. Within this categorization, the existing AZA population of each species will be evaluated and a plan will be developed for its long-term management. These species plans are all outlined within the TAG’s Regional Collection Plan (RCP) and are made available to AZA accredited zoos to guide their internal collection planning.

The 6th edition of the AZA Antelope and Giraffe TAG RCP (2014) reviewed 79 species/subspecies and is recommending 1 Green SSP®, 28 Yellow SSPs®, 16 Red Programs, 3 Unmanaged Populations, 0 Phase Ins, 11 Phase Outs and 20 in situ Focus programs. 

The 15-member Antelope and Giraffe TAG leadership group consists of a Chair (selected by AZA Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee), five Vice-Chair Subgroup Coordinators (invited by the Chair and Vice-Chairs) and nine Steering Committee (SC) members (elected by Institutional Representatives (IRs)).  One of the elected SC members also serves as Secretary.  A Treasurer is appointed by the Steering Committee and is not required to be a member of the Steering Committee.


 TAG Leadership

Appointed Steering Committee

Steve Metzler, San Diego Zoo Safari Park: TAG Chair, Vice Chair, Small Antelope Subgroup
Adam Eyres, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center: Vice Chair, Aridland Antelope, Gazelle & Pronghorn Subgroup
Andi Kornak, Cleveland MetroParks Zoo: Vice Chair, Forest/Woodland Antelope Subgroup
Dan Beetem, The Wilds: Vice Chair, Hartebeest Subgroup
Vacant: Vice Chair, Waterbuck Subgroup

Elected Steering Committee Members

Amy Phelps, San Francisco Zoo
Amy Roberts, Brookfield Zoo
Lisa Smith, Buffalo Zoo (Secretary)
Sam Berner, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Sheri Horiszny, Oregon Zoo
Tony Barthel, Smithsonian National Zoo

TAG Officer (non-steering committee)

Vickie Kunter, Denver Zoo (Treasurer)


To most effectively pursue the TAG’s goals, the Steering Committee of the Antelope and Giraffe TAG partners with a team of Advisors who assist with the management, research and conservation efforts of the TAG.  Eight advisors currently work with the Antelope and Giraffe TAG to counsel TAG participants and Program Leaders on matters related to their fields of expertise as they relate to antelope, pronghorn, giraffe and okapi:  Education, Marketing, Nutrition, Reproduction, Research and Veterinary Medicine.

Leanne White, Jacksonville Zoo: Education Co-Advisor
Steve Monfort, PhD, National Zoological Park-SCBI: Research Advisor
Erin Kendrick, Smithsonian National Zoo: Nutrition Advisor
Linda Penfold, PhD, SEZARC: Reproduction Advisor