The Oregon Zoo earned kudos and another four years of accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums this week at the association’s annual conference, held this year in Baltimore.
“Oregonians can be very proud of their zoo,” said AZA president and CEO Dan Ashe. “It ranks among the top zoos nationally, and visitors can be assured they are supporting a leader in animal care and wildlife conservation.”
In 1974, the Oregon Zoo became just the second zoo in the country to earn accreditation from AZA, and has maintained its standing continuously for the past 48 years. Over the past decade, it has also been recognized with 12 of the association’s major annual awards: six for conservation work on behalf of endangered species, two for excellence and innovation in exhibit design, one for environmental efforts in the zoo’s day-to-day operations, one for achievement in diversity, and two for marketing excellence.
AZA’s accreditation process includes a detailed application and meticulous on-site inspection by trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of a zoo’s operations, including animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management and visitor services. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s accreditation commission. Hearings usually take place in spring and fall, with the fall slate considered during the association’s annual conference.