Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce it has been granted accreditation from The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has been accredited since 2003 and reaccredited four times.
“One of our goals is to provide our animals with the best possible care,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo President and CEO. “AZA accreditation ensures the public and zoos around the world that we are exceeding the standards for quality animal husbandry. It also highlights the fact that our animals are in naturalistic exhibits that meet their need along with the requirements of our staff to provide outstanding care."
To be accredited, Nashville Zoo underwent a thorough review to guarantee it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in each of the inspection 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 in order to be members of the Association.
“Nashville Zoo is among the world-class aquariums and zoos that have achieved our rigorous accreditation standards,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “The hundreds of millions of annual guests to AZA-accredited facilities like Nashville Zoo can be assured they are supporting institutions that provide high-quality animal care and contribute to crucial conservation initiatives.”
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.
“The AZA has reviewed our beautiful Zoo in great detail and in all aspects of the operation,” Schwartz said. “We are proud to know that we solidified our standing as one of America’s best zoos through the accreditation process.”
Since its most recent reaccreditation in 2015, Nashville Zoo has opened four new animal exhibits, opened the state-of-the-art HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center and has been recognized internationally for its conservation efforts. It also collaborates with other accredited institutions to create a healthy and diverse captive population through Species Survival Plans (SSP ®). For Nashville Zoo members, accreditation means access to more than 170 zoos and aquariums participating in the AZA Reciprocal Admissions Program.