The nine-banded armadillo is the only species represented by the PAX TAG to inhabit the United States. Maligned by some, admired by others, it is a species of both disdain and folklore. On many levels, it is remarkable– most particularly for its phenomenal range expansion over the last 70 years.
In 2012, the Steering Committee voted to establish a studbook for nine-banded armadillos. The AZA population had, at that time, just undergone a rapid growth spurt from both nuisance animals that had been absorbed into zoo collections, as well as wild-conceived litters born to some of the females that had been acquired. While there is an interest in captive-born nine-banded armadillos, the species has very limited history of breeding while in human care.
A 2014 revision to the AZA sustainability guidelines has eliminated the formal studbook for this species. The TAG has no plans for managing this program as an SSP: the species is clearly unsustainable as a closed population, but wild-sourced individuals– which would otherwise face eradication as pests– are readily available. Nonetheless, the zoo population of nine-banded armadillos will continue to be monitored by way of a studbook-like registry. Should breeding of this species become prevalent, the status of its program can be revisited.
Zoos are encouraged to consider this species for their collections. Successful breeding of nine-banded armadillos will help to generate much-desired individuals which can be used to offset some of the use of other species in interpretive programming.