Archive: Detroit Zoo Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

September 1, 2022

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

In recognition of its dedication to continuing excellence, the Detroit Zoo has been granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and eight other countries.

Founded in 1924, the AZA is a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation. The AZA only accredits institutions that meet the highest standards and are proven leaders in the care and conservation of wildlife and wild places. The Detroit Zoo has been continuously accredited by the organization since 1985.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to make this announcement,” said Dr. Hayley Murphy, executive director and chief executive officer of the Detroit Zoological Society. “AZA accreditation ensures adherence to professional standards, drives continuous improvement and demonstrates a commitment to excellence.”

To be accredited, the Detroit Zoo underwent a thorough review to assure it has and will continue to meet rising standards, which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety. The AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years to be members of the Association.

“The public expectations for animal care are constantly increasing, as are our own, which is why AZA’s accreditation standards are focused on providing the best animal care possible,” said Dan Ashe, AZA president and CEO. “Our rigorous accreditation standards evolve based on modern animal research, ensuring a process the public can trust. We applaud and admire these exceptional zoos, aquariums and related facilities on meeting the ‘gold standard’ for a modern zoological facility.”

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 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.

During the Detroit Zoo’s site inspection, conducted in June, AZA officials noted several points of particular achievement, including Murphy’s leadership, the dedication of Zoo staff, the expansion of several animal habitats and more.

“While we are pleased with the AZA’s assessment of the Detroit Zoo, we are not done,” Murphy said. “We plan to continue to move forward and provide leadership in the areas of animal welfare, conservation, education, environmental sustainability, and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. We look forward to continuing to be accredited by the AZA for years to come.”