25 Years and CountingVirginia Zoo Receives Quarter Century Award
February 11, 2016
The Virginia Zoo has received the Quarter Century Award, given by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for maintaining accreditation continuously for 25 years or more with a commitment to animal care, welfare, conservation, education.
The Zoo was first accredited in 1974, and most recently in 2013 (through 2018) when the red panda habitat in the Asia – Trail of the Tiger exhibit was acclaimed as one of the best the inspection committee had ever seen. There are 230 AZA-accredited intuitions in the world, only one other in the state of Virginia. To be accredited, zoos like the Virginia Zoo, have completed a thorough review to ensure that they meet and will continue to meet rising standards, which include 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.
The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a 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. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums was founded in 1924 as 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 seven other countries