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Zoo News

Zoo News

Dallas Zoo Celebrates Association of Zoos & Aquariums Reaccreditation
May 2, 2012

DALLAS – (May 2, 2012) – The Dallas Zoo today announced the receipt of its reaccreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).  AZA-accreditation requires a thorough review that includes a detailed application and multiple-day, on-site inspections by a team of zoo experts from around the country.  Fewer than 10% of the 2,400 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture are AZA accredited.


“The AZA is dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation,” said Kris Vehrs, executive director of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.  “There have been two major changes at the Dallas Zoo since our last review.  First, the Dallas Zoo is now a privately managed asset of the City of Dallas.  Turning the management of the Zoo over to animal experts has really accelerated the Zoo’s growth.  Second, the Giants of the Savanna was completed, which was designed specifically for aging elephants, providing them a caring, comfortable, and stimulating environment for the end stages of their lives.  Thanks to the savanna, and the hard work of the team at the Dallas Zoo, your City is home to the national leader for elephant care.  In fact, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) presented the Dallas Zoo with Significant Achievement designation in the AZA 2011 Exhibit Award for the Giants of the Savanna.”


“AZA accreditation tells our guests they are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals and a great experience for them,” said Gregg Hudson, executive director of the Dallas Zoo and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park.  “We’ve had two major changes since the last review, and they were both important in this accreditation.  Privatization of management has facilitated our ability to move more quickly on opportunities to bring in new animals and staff.  Second, the Giants of the Savanna is a great success.  That was a game changer for the Dallas Zoo.  Giants of the Savanna is the only multi-species zoo exhibit in the United States to mix elephants and other species in the same habitat.  The achievements that the savanna has generated in terms of number of guests, funds raised for the Zoo and conservation, and animal research, tell us we can continue to grow and make our Zoo even better.”


“Because the Dallas Zoo is now privately managed, we have significantly increased our fund raising efforts to generate additional revenue to support the Zoo’s ongoing capital improvements program, its operating budget, and its conservation programs.  In short, we are working hard to provide greater levels of private support to our Zoo wherever it is needed,” said Michael L. Meadows, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Zoological Society. “We hope that the renewed AZA-accreditation, along with our 4-Star Charity rating by Charity Navigator, will give our donors even greater confidence that their contributions are being managed efficiently and wisely to make one of Dallas’ greatest assets even better.”


Contact: Jennifer Pascal,, 214-871-7723.