Oregon Zoo to receive prestigious national exhibit award

November 17, 2010 - 9:40am

Association of Zoos and Aquariums CEO will present award during Metro Council meeting

The president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will present Kim Smith, director of the Oregon Zoo, with its prestigious AZA Exhibit Award for the zoo's Predators of the Serengeti exhibit. The award presentation will take place during Thursday's Metro Council meeting in the Council Chambers on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.

"Our community treasures its zoo as the crown jewel of the region," said Michael Jordan, CEO of Metro. "Kim Smith and her dedicated team are so deserving of this esteemed award. On behalf of the Metro Council and our entire agency, I commend our devoted zoo staff –– we could not be more pleased."

Predators of the Serengeti, which features lions, cheetah and wild dogs, was one of 12 exhibits under consideration for the AZA award. Earlier this year, the exhibit received an Excellence in Concrete Award for craftsmanship, and an independent evaluator called Predators of the Serengeti "an excellent model to which all zoo exhibit designers should look."

"I am so proud of the hard work, perseverance and dedication to animal care and conservation our staff demonstrated with the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit," Smith said. "They earned this honor."

"This award is the highest honor for new exhibits, and the Oregon Zoo is on the leading edge of zoological exhibits in North America," said Jim Maddy, president and CEO of AZA. "This exhibit demonstrates the Oregon Zoo's dedication to the best in animal care and public education."

The zoo also received reaccreditation by the AZA. An inspection team visited the zoo in July.

"I'm pleased that we continue to receive great feedback from our colleagues around the country," Smith said. "Oregon has a great zoo, and this process allows us to review everything we do so we can make our institution even better."

The accreditation process, which takes place every five years, provides an important review of all aspects of the zoo. The AZA inspection team, which included a veterinarian, curator and operations expert from major West Coast zoos, scrutinized zoo operations, including animal care, exhibits, conservation, education, guest services, facilities and maintenance.

In 1974, the Oregon Zoo became the second zoo in the country to earn the distinction of being accredited by the AZA, which sets industry-wide standards for prominent zoos around the country. Zoos must be reaccredited every five years.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.