What is a TAG?

In 1990, the AZA developed the management groups called TAGs, short for Taxon Advisory Groups. These individual TAGs mission is to examine, develop, and assist with the conservation needs of an entire taxa, or group of related species.

What is the Antelope TAG?

The American Zoo and Aquarium Association's (AZA) Antelope Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) was formed in 1992 to attempt to meet the challenges of organizing and promoting antelope populations in North American zoos and member organizations. The primary intent of the Antelope TAG is to provide guidance and recommendations to its institutions regarding the captive maintenance of antelope in North America, 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, Population Management Programs (PMPs) and Species Survival Plans (SSPs) while supporting other global captive and in situ programs identified by the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) and the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group (ASG).

The Antelope TAG's organization of antelope taxons (species, subspecies, or other distinct populations) found in captivity in North America into subgroups does not follow traditional taxonomic groupings. Instead, the Antelope TAG has attempted to categorize antelope species by management factors; i.e., species having common captive management and husbandry methods and areas of expertise. To accomplish this, the Antelope TAG has divided all taxons of antelopes into one of five categories: Forest or Woodland antelopes, Small antelopes, Hartebeests, Waterbucks, and Arid antelopes and Gazelles. Within this categorization, the existing captive population of each species will be evaluated and a strategic plan developed for its long-term management. These strategic plans are then made available to zoological institutions for utilization in guiding their internal collection planning.

To date, 95 species or subspecies have been reviewed. Of these taxons,

  • 47 taxa (52%) are to be managed by a Studbook and PMP.
  • 6 taxa (6.3%) are to be managed by an SSP.
  • 11 taxa (11.6%) are to be eliminated from zoo collections.
  • 6 taxa (6.3%) need further evaluation.

In 1994, an Education Liaison was added to the Antelope TAG. This position has been charged with assembling a group of educators to gather data and develop materials that create awareness and bring the actions of the TAG to the AZA membership and the general public, as applicable.

All Antelope TAG board members listed below are elected by their zoological and aquarium peers.

Advisory Group


Martha Fischer Saint Louis Zoo Aridland Antelope, Gazelle & Pronghorn Subgroup
Adam Eyres Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Aridland Antelope, Gazelle & Pronghorn Subgroup Vice-Chair
Sharon Joseph Houston Zoo Forest/Woodland Antelope Subgroup Vice-Chair
Jeff Holland Los Angeles Zoo Small Antelope Subgroup Vice-Chair
Dan Beetem The Wilds Hartebeest Subgroup Vice-Chair
Randy Rieches SDWAP Waterbuck Subgroup Vice-Chair
Vacant vacant Giraffe/Okapi Subgroup Vice-Chair
Vickie Kunter Denver Zoo -- Treasurer
Lisa Smith
Great Plains Zoo -- Secretary

Elected Steering Committee Members

Tracy Thessing Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Director of Animal Collections  --
Adam Eyres Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Hoofstock Supervisor  --
Carmi Penny San Diego Zoo Curator of Mammals  --
Amy Phelps Oakland Zoo Mammal Supervisor --
Conrad Schmitt Miami Metrozoo Mammal Curator --
Alan Sironen Cleveland Metroparks Curator of Mammology  --
Lisa Smith Great Plains Zoo  Curator of Mammals --
Terry Webb North Carolina Zoological Park Mammal Curator  --


Steve Monfort, PhD National Zoological Park-CRC Vice President for Research and Conservation Research Advisor
Erin Kendrick St. Louis Zoo Associate Nutritionist Nutrition Advisor
Hubert Paluch, DVM Cape May Zoo Zoo Director Veterinary Co-Advisor
Linda Penfold, PhD White Oak Conservation  -- Reproduction
Barb Wolfe, DVM The Wilds Director of Wildlife and Conservation Medicine Veterinary Co-Advisor
Michelle Smurl Brevard Zoo Director of Animal Programs Website Advisor
Leanne White Greenville Zoo Education Curator Education Co-Advisor
Steve Shurter Antelope Specialist Group Editor of Gnusletter Antelope Specialist Liason
Ann Petric -- -- Steering Committee Advisor

Mission Statement

Dedicated to conservation of the world's antelope species by promotion of public education and professional implementation of long-term genetic and demographic management of the AZA's North American zoological captive populations.

© 2006 Antelope & Giraffe TAG / All rights reserved / View Terms