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ABQ BioPark Receives Quarter Century Award From AZA

Milestone for highest standards set by accrediting body

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the primary accrediting body for top zoos and aquariums in the United States since 1974, announced this week that the ABQ BioPark is a recipient of the Association's Quarter Century Award. Established in 2015, this new award acknowledges facilities that have maintained AZA accreditation continuously for 25 years or more, highlighting their commitment to animal care, welfare, conservation, education, and more. 

The inaugural group of 119 awardees includes many facilities that have successfully achieved AZA accreditation well beyond the 25 year mark. The ABQ BioPark has been accredited since 1981, and successfully achieved another five years of accreditation in September 2015.

"AZA is dedicated to ensuring that the highest standards in the zoological profession are met, and this means that the accreditation process is therefore quite rigorous," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "The fact that these aquariums and zoos have maintained continuous AZA accreditation for 25 years or more is an extraordinary achievement that deserves to be celebrated," said Maddy.

"We are very pleased and honored to receive the Quarter Century Award from AZA," said Mayor Richard J. Berry. "This award is a testament to the dedication of our staff, the investments made by the citizens of Albuquerque and Biopark supporters, and our long term vision that will insure the Biopark remains a world class facility that educates and entertains while placing a premium on conservation efforts."

To reach accreditation status, AZA-accredited facilities have completed a thorough review to ensure that they meet and will continue to meet rising standards, which include animal care, 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; 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.

Recipients of AZA's Quarter Century Award will receive a plaque honoring their achievement. The complete list of facilities continuously accredited by AZA for 25 years or more can be found at www.aza.org/pressroom

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 seven 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.