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Columbus Zoo receives accreditation from Zoological Association of America

This marks the second organization to vote in favor of the zoo since the American Zoological Association first voted to strip away its accreditation.

POWELL, Ohio — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has earned accreditation from yet another organization, zoo officials announced Wednesday. 

The Zoological Association of America voted to grant accreditation to the zoo following a four-day, on-site inspection and what officials said was a “rigorous review period.” 

This marks the second organization to vote in favor of the zoo since the American Zoological Association first voted to strip away its accreditation back in October. 

At the time, the AZA said the zoo “failed to uphold its standards.” Specifically, the AZA cited an investigation that determined four zoo officials misused resources, leading to a loss of more than $630,000. 

The AZA also cited concerns about the zoo having a "long record of intentional and repeated animal transfers with non-AZA members intended to supply baby animals – mainly big cats – for entertainment purposes."

The following month, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums granted the zoo accreditation. That decision came after a two-day on-site inspection of the zoo’s manatee, polar bear, sea lion and harbor seal facilities. 

The zoo applied for accreditation from the ZAA in April. 

“The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a first-class zoo holding one of the country’s most diverse animal collection,” said John Seyjagat, executive director of the Zoological Association of America. “The entire staff and support team are well qualified and professional. The Columbus Zoo is a leader in conservation endeavors, including water reclamation and recycling, wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, and animal care and welfare. We are excited to have them share this expertise with the zoological community.” 

According to the ZAA, its accreditation is predicated on promoting the highest standards of animal welfare. The organization claims it has the best safety record among any other major zoological trade association.

The zoo appealed the AZA's decision but it was denied in December.

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