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Posted September 2013

The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce that its accreditation recently was granted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The AZA requires zoos and aquariums to become accredited in order to be members of the association. Accreditation is granted for five years, at the end of which the institution must undergo the rigorous investigation again to ensure it meets rising industry standards in collection care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety, among other areas.

“By meeting Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Standards, the Milwaukee County Zoo sets itself apart as one of the top zoos in the world,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “The Milwaukee County Zoo is a leader in the care and conservation of wildlife, and in educating people about the natural world.”

The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection and peer review.

“It’s a proud day for Milwaukee County as our Zoo receives accreditation from this important Commission,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “The Milwaukee County Zoo is considered one of the finest in the country, and this is another example of its commitment to high zoological standards, conservation and exceptional animal care.”

The accreditation process includes an initial application and a two- or three-day inspection by a team of zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the facility’s operation in areas such as collection care, keeper training, safety for animals, staff, and visitors, educational programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management, visitor services and other areas. The team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, a formal hearing is held where top Milwaukee County Zoo officials are interviewed by the Commission, after which accreditation is either granted, tabled or denied. Any facility that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums was founded in 1924 and is dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. Accreditation of zoos and aquariums became a mandatory requirement for membership in the AZA in 1980. Currently, the Association represents 223 accredited zoos and aquariums in North America.

For more information on the accreditation, please call the Zoo at 414.256.5411.