The Association of Zoos & Aquariums announced via press release on Tuesday that Chehaw Park was granted accreditation by AZA's independent Accreditation Commission.
"By meeting Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Standards, Chehaw sets itself apart as one of the top zoos in the world," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "Chehaw is a leader in the care and conservation of wildlife, and in educating people about the natural world."
To be accredited, Chehaw underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet 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.