POWELL – The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced today that the zoo has been granted accreditation by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), an international association and accrediting body.
Columbus Zoo management was made aware of this achievement following a comprehensive four-day on-site inspection in March by a team of experienced zoological professionals, a period of rigorous review by the accreditation of the ZAA and the full approval and voting process of the ZAA Board of Directors.
ZAA is a non-profit, membership-based, accrediting organization dedicated to its mission of responsible wildlife management, conservation and education, and maintains the highest level of professional standards for animal welfare. -being, safety and ethics of animals. The association is unique in that it is made up of public and private facilities of wildlife educators, rescue facilities, animal experts from the television and film industry, wildlife sanctuaries , small community zoos, large zoological facilities, aquariums and conservation organizations – all working together to elevate the care and welfare of wildlife in human care. The Columbus Zoo now joins the ranks of more than 60 ZAA-accredited facilities and is one of the largest with this distinction.
ZAA accreditation is a rigorous process that includes a thorough application and site inspection. Facilities fall into many categories, including physical facility, animal husbandry, animal care practices, animal welfare and welfare, record keeping, staff knowledge, animal nutrition, safety, veterinary care, safety plans and risk management, and compliance with ZAA Accreditation Standards. Accreditation must be renewed every five years, requiring facilities to reapply and undergo internal reviews and approvals, as well as the entire site visit, to ensure standards are being met.
In addition to accreditation obtained by ZAA, the Columbus Zoo has received accreditation from the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA), an international association and accrediting body specializing in marine mammals. This distinction was accomplished in November 2021 following a comprehensive two-day on-site inspection of the zoo’s facilities for manatees, polar bears, sea lions and harbor seals by a team of experienced marine mammal professionals.
“We are very proud to continue to be recognized in our professional community as one of the best facilities for caring for wildlife and contributing to conservation and education initiatives,” said Tom Schmid, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo Family of Parks. “We commend the rigor of all accreditation bodies and strive to exceed these standards in every way possible. It is important that the wider zoological community works together in all aspects to protect the profession and ensure that institutions meet all standards of good practice. Meeting or exceeding all accreditation standards only benefits the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium at all levels and supports our commitment to fulfilling our mission to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife.
“The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a first-class zoo that houses one of the most diverse animal collections in the country,” said John Seyjagat, executive director of the Zoological Association of America. “The entire staff and support team are well qualified and professional. The Columbus Zoo is a leader in conservation efforts, including water harvesting and recycling, wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, and animal care and welfare. We are delighted that they are sharing this expertise with the zoological community.
“Columbus Zoo & Aquarium was extremely patient, compliant and diligent throughout the ZAA Accreditation process, including the 4-day, 3-Inspector ZAA Accreditation Inspection,” Seyjagat continued. “ZAA proudly welcomes the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as an accredited facility and looks forward to supporting the Columbus Zoo in its animal care and welfare, staff and animal safety, conservation efforts of wildlife and legislative commitments. Congratulations to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for its ZAA accreditation.
Sunshine the sea lion says hello humans.
This story was provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.