Mesker Park Zoo gets accreditation

ZOOm with Santa with Mesker Park Zoo this weekend
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 2:00 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville’s Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden announced they were granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) at the National conference last week in Columbus Ohio.

Officials say it’s the “gold standard” of zoological facilities.

The AZA accreditation includes a detailed application and a meticulous, on-site, multiple-day inspection by an independent team of zoological professionals.  

Officials say the inspecting team analyzes all aspects of the facility’s operation, including animal welfare and wellbeing; veterinary care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; financial stability; risk management; governance; and guest services.

Detailed reports from the inspection team and the facility alike are then thoroughly evaluated by the Commission.

Finally, the Commission interviews top officials from the facility at a formal hearing where the final determination is made. T

his process takes place every 5 years for every AZA accredited institution.

There are currently 237 AZA-accredited facilities and 15 AZA-accredited related facility members throughout the U.S and 12 other countries.

Zoo Director, Erik Beck says, “This is a major achievement and takes every single departments commitment to meeting these rigorous standards. I could not be more proud of our team. Thank you to the staff, volunteers, and supporters who helped make this happen”.  

Officials say this accreditation couldn’t have been possible without the support of the City of Evansville.

“Receiving this accreditation underscores the commitment and hard work of our staff at Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden,” said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “Our Zoo not only focuses on the highest standard of care for its animals but also aims to give our visitors a memorable experience. It’s no surprise we saw record attendance last year.”

[Recent: Mesker Park Zoo welcomes adorable Greater Kudu calves]