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The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced today The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida, was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“Less than 10% of animal facilities registered with USDA have achieved AZA-accreditation, so The Florida Aquarium is truly a leader in the profession,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “AZA-accreditation signifies The Florida Aquarium’s active role in protecting our world’s wild animals and wild places while providing exemplary animal care and meaningful guest experiences.”
To be accredited, The Florida Aquarium underwent a thorough review to make sure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories, which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years 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 and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more.
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.
The Florida Aquarium received its first accreditation from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) in March 1997 and has been accredited with AZA ever since.
“AZA Accreditation is a great honor for The Florida Aquarium and represents the hard work and world-class standards maintained by every member of our team.” said Roger Germann, President, and CEO.
“It was a privilege to Chair The Florida Aquarium through this process and oversee the transition of this organization from a beloved attraction to a leader in the conservation space,” said Dan Borasch, Chairman of The Florida Aquarium Board of Directors.
The AZA inspection team highlighted a long list of important assets at The Florida Aquarium. A sample of this list includes its Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach, and the critical work that the Aquarium’s biologists are doing at our Coral Arks (greenhouse nurseries) in raising various species of coral to restore those affected by disease along the Florida Reef Tract.
Furthermore, a dedicated and enthusiastic animal care and welfare team, a very active and experienced research and conservation department that is working to save the Blue Planet locally and globally, and a forward-thinking community engagement program that is creating a fantastic experience for our guests.
The AZA was founded in 1924. It has more than 200 accredited members and is a leader in global wildlife conservation.
Founded in 1924, 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 eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
About The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship of the natural environment. It was voted a Top 3 Aquarium in North America by the readers of USA Today (May 2018), it’s earned a Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Rating (2018) and this year earned a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum Level Participant of Guidestar.