OKC ZOO GRANTED ACCREDITATION FROM AZA - 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2013
Tara Henson – (405) 425-0219, office / (405) 919-9038, cell or firstname.lastname@example.org
Candice Rennels – (405) 425-0298, office / (405) 412-6172, cell or email@example.com
OKLAHOMA CITY ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN GRANTED ACCREDITATION FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has been granted accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The accreditation certifies that the Zoo has met or exceeded the AZA’s standards for animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete its accreditation process every five years in order to remain a member.
The Zoo has seen significant capital improvements and celebrated major milestones since last awarded accreditation in 2008. Two major exhibits opened including the Children’s Zoo in 2010 and a state-of-the-art, 9.5-acre Elephant Habitat in 2011, where the historical birth of its first elephant calf occurred the same year. Dwight Scott, executive director, was named to the Board of Trustees of the prestigious Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and the Zoo launched its small grants program, Conservation Action Now (CAN), which has funded nearly $22,000 in projects since 2011. This year, construction began on the Zoo’s new Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital slated to open in 2014 and Stingray Bay opened.
“Being recognized as an accredited AZA member is a distinguished honor and an achievement I proudly share with my entire staff,” said Scott. “This recognition is a testament to our commitment to being an industry leader in animal welfare and conservation, and would not be possible without the dedication of our staff and the support we receive from the community, our members, our volunteers and patrons. Exciting things are on the Zoo’s horizon and, as we grow, we will maintain the highest level of excellence to ensure a quality experience for future generations to enjoy.”
To receive accreditation, the Zoo completed a detailed application and underwent a three-day site inspection by a team of leading zoo-industry experts. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operations including animal husbandry, veterinary programs, conservation and research programs, education programs, public outreach, safety policies and procedures, security, physical facilities, guest services and more. The inspectors also evaluated the Zoo’s finances, its governing authority and the relationship with its member organization, the Oklahoma Zoological Society.
Founded in 1924, AZA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. 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.
Located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District, the Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with exhibit buildings closing at 4:45 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children ages three to 11 and seniors age 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Are you a Zoo fan? Find us at www.facebook.com/okczoobg and @okczoo. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.com.