(New Orleans, La.) - The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that Audubon Aquarium of the Americas was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“Only zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “The community should take great pride in knowing that Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a proven leader in the care and conservation of wildlife, and in inspiring people to take action to protect the natural world.”
“Audubon Aquarium of the Americas provides the best of care for our animals and a wonderful place for guests to learn about the wonders of nature,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “We’re honored and pleased to be recognized for our ongoing efforts by our peers at AZA.”
To be accredited, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-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.
Following the Aquarium’s review, the AZA inspection team noted points of particular achievement in the following areas:
- Staff pride and dedication to the Audubon brand is evident, as is the staff’s exceptional work ethic. Team work among staff and enthusiastic dedication in notable. Volunteer recognition is very strong and contributes to a great program.
- Comprehensive planning and preparation for emergency operations is second to none, borne out of first hand experience with a devastating natural disaster
- Novel and effective teacher outreach and workshops, such as Scope-on-a-Rope, Ocean Explorer and Oil Spill Response
- Excellent cooperative efforts with government and other entities such as Geaux Fish!, G.U.L.F., LDWF catch and release programs, and LBPF Reef Ball project to name a few.
- Their coordination of the massive sea turtle rescue effort was a Herculean task and their success rate with sea turtles was exceptional. AAOA is taking a leading role in the development of the Coastal Wildlife Conservation Network, which will greatly improve coordinated interagency cooperation in wildlife disaster response.
- Great strides in green initiatives, such as building and exhibit conversion to LED lighting.
- New parakeet exhibit works well and is a great experience. Innovative housing facilities are apparent. Exhibits appeared to be well maintained with excellent water quality.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit www.aza.org.