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Abilene Zoo Achieves Prestigious AZA Accreditation

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has announced that Abilene Zoo was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

Silver Spring, Md. (March 26, 2024) – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has announced that Abilene Zoo was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. Of the 31 applications for accreditation reviewed by the Commission during AZA’s Mid-Year Meeting held in Memphis, Tenn., 28 were granted accreditation.

“Congratulations to the staff at Abilene Zoo for achieving the world’s ‘gold standard’ for the zoological and aquarium profession,” said Dan Ashe, AZA’s president and chief executive officer. “AZA’s standards continually evolve to reflect best practices in animal care and wellbeing, veterinary care, conservation, scientific advancement, and safety and security, among other things. With this assurance, the public can trust that the animals at Abilene Zoo receive the highest level of care and wellbeing, and there is a deep commitment to their conservation in the wild.”

AZA accreditation includes a detailed application and a meticulous multiple-day on-site inspection by an independent team of zoological professionals. The inspecting team analyzes all aspects of the facility’s operation, including animal welfare and wellbeing; veterinary care; staff 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, the Commission interviews top officials from the facility at a formal hearing, after which accreditation is fully granted, provisionally granted for one year, or denied.

A thorough review ensures that each facility has met and will continue to meet ever-rising standards. AZA facilities must complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years as a condition of association membership.

“Abilene Zoo received its initial accreditation from AZA in 1985, and we are honored to continue this legacy,” stated Abilene Zoo Director Jesse Pottebaum. “The Zoo team works hard every day to ensure we uphold the highest standards in animal care and wellbeing and remain a great place for our community to gather and learn about wildlife and conservation. We are deeply grateful for the community’s ongoing support that makes it all possible.”

There are 236 AZA-accredited institutions and 15 AZA-accredited related facility members throughout the U.S. and 12 other countries. For a complete list of accredited AZA facilities, please visit

About AZA 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 12 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

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