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Kris Vehrs is executive director of the AZA. She says only zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums…
"It means they’re meeting standards of animal care, financial stability, risk management, safety, staffing levels… governing authority," Vehrs said. "It’s a very comprehensive look at everything that Dickerson Park Zoo is doing."
Dickerson Park Zoo’s Director Mike Crocker says the accreditation assures the public the staff is operating the zoo at the highest possible standards on a daily basis. And he says it gives the zoo some privileges…
"It’s essential for us to do what we’re all about it. Animal conservation, being able to participate in the coordinated conservation programs among the North American zoos, be able to exchange animals back and forth, and a lot of those kinds of things," Crocker says.
To be accredited, Dickerson Park Zoo underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete the rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the association.
The AZA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation.