The Columbus Zoo Loses Long Time Accreditation

The Columbus Zoo Loses Long Time Accreditation

Jane Greco, Writer

Due to employment debacles, financial concerns and the release of “The Conservation Game”, the AZA decided not to award the Columbus Zoo with their typical accreditation for the last five years .

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums or AZA is an non-profit organization that promotes animal welfare, ethics and conservation. The organization also gives out a prestigious accreditation award to zoos if animal care, facilities, and other aspects are up to their standards. Every 5 years zoos have the opportunity to be evaluated by the organization to gain their next accreditation. 

Over the summer, speculation from the public as well as the AZA occurred when the documentary “The Conversation Game” was released in theatres on August 27th this past summer. Created by Michael Webber, the documentary covers how the Columbus Zoo obtains their ‘Big Cats’ like tigers and snowleopords for entertainment purposes like talk show interviews. Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA made a statement during the press release. 

“Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a long-time accredited AZA member. Columbus Zoo is an outstanding facility and a valuable part of our community. Still, the practices portrayed in the documentary attributed to some Columbus Zoo staff, if accurate, are not what we expect from a modern accredited zoo. These practices were brought to the attention of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission prior to the film’s release and are currently under review.”

Accreditation rules, as stated from the AZA website, says that any zoo who loses accreditation has the ability to file for an appeal within the month that the denial occurs. 

According to a press release from the Columbus Zoo, the corporation intends to appeal the accreditation commissions decision by October 30th. 

“At the time of the AZA inspection by the visiting committee in July, we believe the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium met the AZA standards required for accreditation. The poor decisions of a handful of people should not negate the good work this team does and how much staff members contribute to the AZA through committee work and leadership roles. Nobody currently working at the Zoo had anything to do with the position we find ourselves in today. We’ve acknowledged the wrongdoings of the past. We’ve also made changes and updated policies to ensure those cannot happen again,” Jerry Borin, interim CEO and President of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said.