Photo: EP Zoo
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced that the El Paso Zoo (EPZ) has been granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“AZA accreditation signifies that the El Paso Zoo is committed to meeting the very highest standards in the zoological profession,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “It means that the El Paso Zoo is a proven leader in animal care and welfare and in providing educational and meaningful experiences for visitors.”
To be accredited, EPZ 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 institution’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; visitor services; and more.
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 El Paso Zoo has made consistent strides to maintain the highest level of standards to ensure it is granted accreditation. Out of the 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the USDA across the country, less than 10% are AZA-accredited. The EPZ is a member of the distinguished Quarter Century Award which recognizes zoos and aquariums that have been AZA-accredited continuously for 25 years or more.
“The zoo’s senior team and I are so proud of our dedicated staff, partners, and volunteers that contribute daily to our professional care of these animals and our powerfully important messages of individual responsibility for wild animals and wild places,” said El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall.
The EPZ has been an accredited AZA member since 1980.