The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) has announced the Idaho Falls Zoo was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“AZA accreditation signifies Idaho Falls Zoo’s active role in protecting our world’s wild animals and wild places while providing exceptional animal care and meaningful guest experiences,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “Fewer than 10% of animal exhibitors registered with USDA have achieved AZA accreditation, so Idaho Falls Zoo is truly a leader in the zoological profession.”
To be accredited, the Idaho Falls Zoo underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, 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 facility’s operation, including animal care and welfare, keeper training, safety for visitors, staff and animals, educational programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management and visitor services. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied.
Idaho Falls Zoo has been an accredited AZA member since 1998 and was the first facility in Idaho to achieve accreditation.
“All of us at the Idaho Falls Zoo are extremely proud of our accreditation with AZA, and you as citizens in our great community should be proud as well,” states Zoo Director David Pennock. “Know that when you visit the Idaho Falls Zoo, you can feel good knowing you are supporting a zoo that meets the highest standards in animal welfare, education, and conservation. The Idaho Falls zoo is indeed the ‘best little zoo in the west.'”
During the inspection process, the AZA inspection team noted they were particularly impressed with the zoo’s new William J. Maeck Education Center, the future expansion of the zoo with the newly acquired county fairground land adjacent to the zoo, and the significant increase in conservation involvement and funding with the zoo’s Quarters for Conservation Program.