Cleveland Metroparks Zoo was re-accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) by the organization's independent Accreditation Commission. It is the seventh time the Zoo has received this prestigious designation. The announcement was made in Orlando, Florida at the AZA's national zoo conference.
"By meeting the highest industry standards, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is ranked among the best zoos and aquariums in the world," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "When people visit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, they can be assured that they are supporting a facility that is a leader in the care and conservation of wildlife."
To be accredited, the Zoo underwent a thorough review to ensure it meets, and will continue to meet, rising standards for animal care, 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.
Upon receiving accreditation, Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar stated, "Every member of our team at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo understands the importance of meeting AZA standards. Our staff is truly dedicated to providing the best possible care for our animals, education for our guests, and contributions to conservation and science. AZA accreditation verifies our commitment to each of these areas and more."
The accreditation process includes a detailed application and meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution's operation, including animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas. Top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA's Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied.
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 six other countries.