Silver Spring, Maryland – The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) has announced that the Idaho Falls Zoo was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“AZA accreditation signifies Idaho Falls Zoo’s active role in protecting our world’s wild animals and wild places while providing exceptional animal care and meaningful guest experiences,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “Fewer than 10% of animal exhibitors registered with USDA have achieved AZA accreditation, so Idaho Falls Zoo is truly a leader in the zoological profession.”
To be accredited, the Idaho Falls Zoo underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.
“Idaho Falls residents can be extremely proud of the facilities and staff of the Idaho Falls Zoo. To be accredited demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protecting and preserving our wildlife and the environment,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “To be accredited means that the zoo meets very high standards for animal care and a commitment to protecting our planet’s wild animals. It’s also an extension of our overall education goals. We intend to provide exceptional experiences for our zoo guest about the animals, their habitat and how to preserve them for future generations.”
The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the facility’s operation, including animal care and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any facility that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.
Idaho Falls Zoo has been an accredited AZA member since 1998 and was the first facility in Idaho to achieve accreditation.
“All of us at the Idaho Falls Zoo are extremely proud of our accreditation with AZA, and you as citizens in our great community should be proud as well,” states Zoo Director David Pennock. “Know that when you visit the Idaho Falls Zoo, you can feel good knowing you are supporting a zoo that meets the highest standards in animal welfare, education, and conservation. The Idaho Falls zoo is indeed the ‘best little zoo in the west.’”
During the inspection process, the AZA inspection team noted they were particularly impressed with the zoo’s new William J. Maeck Education Center, the future expansion of the zoo with the newly acquired county fairground land adjacent to the zoo, and the significant increase in conservation involvement and funding with the zoo’s Quarters for Conservation Program. With this program, a portion of each admission into the zoo contributes to local and global conservation initiatives identified by the zoo.
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, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and ten other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact Idaho Falls Public Information Officer, Bud Cranor at (208) 612-8306 or [email protected]. For questions or information on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), contact Rob Vernon at 301-244-3352 or [email protected].
About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park: With more than 330 individual animals representing 130 species from all around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo is known as the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in 44 Species Survival Plans. Learn more on our website.