ALBUQUERQUE – While there are approximately 2,800 licensed animal exhibits in the United States, less than 10% meet the stringent standards of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The ABQ BioPark has been continuously accredited by the AZA for more than 30 years, which proves the ongoing leadership role of the BioPark in the areas of animal welfare and veterinary care, nature conservation, education, guest experience and safety.
Every five years the BioPark has to go through the entire accreditation process in order to retain its accreditation. On November 4, 2021, the AZA awarded the ABQ BioPark another five-year accreditation after a rigorous inspection visit at the beginning of the year.
“This is proof of the hard work of the entire BioPark team and made possible by the strong support of this valued institution by families in our city,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The BioPark has been greatly expanded this year and we are looking forward to the major developments ahead. We innovate in our BioPark and will continue to offer new, high quality experiences for families across the city. “
“AZA accreditation is only possible through the collaboration of the entire team, and I am very proud of our team’s commitment to not only meet but exceed the highest standards in our industry,” said Stephanie Stowell, ABQ BioPark Director. “Without our dedicated BioPark employees, volunteers, concessionaires at SSA and our support organization, the New Mexico BioPark Society, we really could not have achieved this.”
The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site visit by a team of zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspection team observes all aspects of the operation of a facility, including animal care; Goalkeeper training; Security for visitors, staff and animals; Educational programs; Conservation efforts; Veterinary programs; financial stability; Risk management; Visitor services; and other areas. Finally, top officials are asked at a formal hearing by the independent accreditation commission of the AZA, after which the accreditation is granted, submitted or refused.
Further information on the accreditation process and the standards can be found here.