Honolulu Zoo Gets Full Accreditation Restored

According to Hawaii News Now, the Honolulu Zoo has gotten its full accreditation restored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo never actually lost its accreditation, but the AZA held off on re-accrediting the zoo after an inspection in March of 2011 revealed that the Honolulu Zoo had a few upgrades to fulfill before the AZA could grant its full re-accreditation.

Getting Re-Accredited

Since the inspection from the AZA the Honolulu Zoo has been working on a list of suggestions from the AZA on things they needed to do to gain their full accreditation. The Zoo has had nine-months to complete the list, when they would have another team of inspectors from the AZA to grant the final approval.One of the biggest things the zoo had to overcome was their elephant exhibit, which according to the AZA needed to be expanded to better suit the needs of the elephants, Mari and Vaigai. Their enclosure had been under reconstruction since 2006, and the new enclosure was debuted in December of 2011; spreading their enclosure to 1.5 acres of land, which includes two 50,000 gallon swimming areas. Some of the other items that the Honolulu Zoo needed to work on, according to the AZA, was repair and upgrade to animal exhibits, addition of more directional signage and educational graphics, as well as filling vacant personnel positions.

The Zoo Gains Full Re-Accreditation

According to Hawaii News Now the Honolulu Zoo’s full accreditation has been restored. Over the past year the Zoo has been filling positions that had remained vacant and garnered criticism from the AZA inspectors. The positions that were filled included a second veterinarian, a reptile curator, and a registrar to keep records on the creatures that call the zoo their home. Not only did they hire much needed staff members, but they upgraded the zoo’s signage to be more clear and educational, giving visitors more information on the exhibits and more direction throughout the Zoo.

What does Accreditation Mean for the Zoo?

Having accreditation from the AZA is a great thing for the Honolulu Zoo because it joins a group of more than 200 zoos and aquariums across the country that are accredited, allowing the zoo to continue trading rare animals with other zoos on the mainland. The Zoo is currently participating in a program with Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma Washington where the two zoos are attempting to get their Sumatran Tigers to mate, without their accreditation they wouldn’t be allowed to participate in such programs.

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