The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that Sea Life Orlando Aquarium was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet the ‘gold standards’ set for accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “By achieving AZA-accreditation, Sea Life Orlando Aquarium demonstrates that it is committed to exemplary animal care and welfare, educational and inspiring guest experiences, and AZA’s mission to conserve our world’s wild animals and wild places.”
“We’re honored to receive AZA’s accreditation and to be in the company of other organizations that share our ideals to protect sea species and educate the public about the wonders of the natural world,” said James Paulding, General Manager of Sea Life Orlando Aquarium.
“Our aquarists and animal care experts are committed to delivering the highest standard of care to every single one of our over 3,000 animals from sharks and sea horses to Chely, our rescued green sea turtle.”
“This is the culmination of hard work from every person at the Aquarium - the shared drive, passion, and dedication to education and conservation is reflected in this successful outcome, and I commend the team on this achievement,” added Andrew Nerness, displays curator at Sea Life Orlando Aquarium.
To be accredited, Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, which opened its doors in 2015 and cares for over 3000 creatures, underwent a thorough review to make certain 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 in order 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.
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.