Zoo News

Sep 01, 2022

Buffalo Zoo Granted Accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

The Buffalo Zoo is excited to announce it has been granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

AZA accreditation represents the “gold” standard for Zoos and Aquariums in all aspects of animal care and welfare, education, conservation and operations.  The Buffalo Zoo achieved its first accreditation back in 1981 and has been successful every five years since that time. Being accredited by the AZA offers assurance that guests are visiting and supporting a facility that provides excellent care for animals, a great experience for the guest, and a better future for all living things.

 “We are proud to achieve AZA accreditation.  Our team works hard every day to maintain these high standards in animal care and welfare and provide a place where our community can make connections with wildlife”, said Norah Fletchall, President and CEO. “Preparing a facility for the accreditation process takes an enormous amount of work and we were successful because of the tireless efforts of our volunteers, our donors, our board of directors, and most importantly the Buffalo Zoo staff who spent countless hours preparing for the inspection.”

AZA accreditation could not have been achieved without the continued support from government partners to address aging infrastructure on the Zoo’s campus. The Zoo is grateful for the support from City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo City Council President Darius G. Pridgen, Council Member Joel P. Feroleto, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, State Senator Sean M. Ryan, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Erie County Legislator Lisa Chimera. 

“We are pleased that the Buffalo Zoo continues to be recognized as among the best facilities for caring for wildlife and contributing to conservation and education initiatives,” stated Mayor Byron W. Brown.  “We invest significant funds in the upkeep of the Buffalo Zoo and our efforts are paying off with today’s announcement that our Zoo has once again been accredited by the AZA Accreditation Commission for another 5 years. AZA accreditation is not easy to get, and it is very hard to maintain. Congratulations to Zoo President Norah B. Fletchall and her team for their careful planning and use of improved technology to further upgrade and modernize our existing facility to create a better experience for the animals that live there and the people who visit.”

“The Buffalo Zoo is an irreplaceable element of our community and has been the scene of millions of happy memories for generations of Erie County residents. Accreditation for another five years is a testament to the hard work, exemplary care and compassion that zoo officials and personnel display every day, and our community is a better place for their efforts,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Erie County is a proud supporter of the Buffalo Zoo and we look forward to working with them in the future as they create great memories and experiences for the next generation.”

The AZA accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous, on-site, multiple-day inspection by an independent team of expert zoological professionals. The inspecting team analyzes all aspects of the facility’s operation, including animal welfare and well-being; veterinary care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; financial stability; risk management; governance; and guest services. Detailed reports from the inspection team and the facility alike are then thoroughly evaluated by the Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed by the Accreditation Commission at a formal hearing, after which accreditation is fully granted, provisionally granted for one year, or denied.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and twelve other countries.

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