POWELL, Ohio — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced it received accreditation from the Zoological Association of America in a news release Wednesday.
The Zoological Association of America (ZAA) notified Columbus Zoo leadership after multiple steps were taken for the accreditation including a four-day on-site inspection by zoological professionals, a review by the accreditation committee and approval by the Zoological Association of America board of directors.
“We are very proud that we continue to be recognized in our professional community as among the best facilities for caring for wildlife and contributing to conservation and education initiatives," Tom Schmid, President/CEO of the Columbus Zoo Family of Parks said in a news release. "We welcome the rigor of all accrediting bodies, and we strive to exceed these standards in any way we can."
The association is a nonprofit comprised of public and private facilities of wildlife educators, rescue facilities, television and film industry animal experts, wildlife preserves, small community zoos, large zoological facilities, aquariums and conservation organizations.
The association has accredited more than 60 facilities, including the Columbus Zoo.
Facilities are graded in many categories, including the physical facility, husbandry, animal care practices, animal welfare and well-being, record keeping, knowledge of personnel, animal nutrition, security, veterinary care, safety plans and risk management, and adherence to the accreditation standards.
Every five years, accreditation must be renewed which includes reapplying, undergoing internal reviews and approvals and a site visit.
"It is important for the larger zoological community to work together in all aspects to protect the profession and ensure institutions are meeting all best practices standards," Schmid said. "Meeting or exceeding all accreditation standards only benefits the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium at every level and supports our commitment to fulfilling our mission to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife."
The Columbus Zoo was also accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA) in Nov. 2021. AMMPA is an international association and accrediting body specializing in marine mammals. This distinction was accomplished following a comprehensive two-day, on-site inspection of the zoo’s manatee, polar bear, sea lion and harbor seal facilities by a team of experienced marine mammal professionals.
“The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a first-class zoo holding one of the country’s most diverse animal collection," said John Seyjagat, executive director of the Zoological Association of America. "The entire staff and support team are well qualified and professional."
Seyjagat said the Columbus Zoo is a leader in conservation efforts, wildlife rehabilitation and animal care.
"The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was extremely patient, compliant, and diligent throughout the ZAA accreditation process," said Seyjagat. "ZAA proudly welcomes 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, wildlife conservation endeavors, and legislative engagements.”