To earn the accreditation, a zoo must meet specific standards and undergo an extensive, comprehensive evaluation of its operations and programs by the AZA to ensure these standards are met. Accredited organizations are evaluated every five years and the standards that must be met include animal welfare and care, ranging from living environments and social groupings, to health and nutrition. The evaluation also includes looking at a zoo’s wildlife conservation impact and research, and its guest services such as education programs.
The Denver Zoo is one of 238 institutions in the world to earn the AZA accreditation. Less than 10% of all the 2,800 wildlife exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture receive it, states a news release.
“AZA accreditation is the ultimate stamp of approval for our profession, and assures our guests and members that we’re providing the best possible care for our animals and creating a safe, enjoyable experience for our community,” said Bert Vescolani, president and CEO of the Denver Zoo, in a news release. “We’re beyond proud to be among the very few zoos and aquariums in the world that maintains such a high standard across our programs and operations.”