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County Executive's Office

AZA Grants Accreditation To Henry Vilas Zoo

September 23, 2008
Jim Hubing, 608.266.4703
County Executive

Silver Spring, Maryland (September 23, 2008) - The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that Henry Vilas Zoo was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. “Henry Vilas Zoo was granted AZA accreditation because it meets high standards in every aspect of its operations,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “Madison should be proud to have one of the top zoos in North America as a valuable community asset.” To be accredited, Henry Vilas Zoo underwent a thorough investigation to insure 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 in order to be members of the Association, and are required to resubmit to this process every five years. “Our fabulous free zoo is not only a great destination for families, but is also a top notch home for its great variety of animals,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “Visiting Henry Vilas Zoo is more than a great day out with the family,” Maddy added. “It’s an opportunity to connect with nature. And, every visit you make to an accredited zoo or aquarium supports wildlife conservation.” The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review. 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 in areas such as animal care (including living environment and daily enrichment), keeper training, safety for animals, staff, and visitors, educational programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management, visitor services, and other areas. The inspection team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal Commission hearing, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made. 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. With its more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit ### Please contact Jim Hubing at 608.266.4703 or for additional information about the institution, including special events and activities for visitors and its ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation and science.
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