ERIE (Erie News Now) – The Erie Zoo has lost its accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), it confirmed to Erie News Now on Wednesday.
The decision has nothing to do with animal care or welfare, according to zoo spokesperson Emily Smicker. It is linked to older zoo exhibits not meeting modern design, she said.
Loss of accreditation will not affect daily operations, the visitor experience or conservation efforts at the zoo.
“We have taken great pride in meeting AZA standards for accreditation for the last 37 years,” said Smicker. “We are proud of our long-term partnership with them and are determined to take a hard look at the suggestions provided to us. We choose to look at this as a learning experience and will continue to provide quality animal care as we move forward.”
The zoo has the option to appeal the decision within 30 days but has not decided to do that. The earliest the zoo can apply for reaccreditation is September 2022.
Meanwhile, the Erie Zoo is continuing its capital campaign. Several projects are expected to be unveiled next season including monkey and otter exhibits.
The AZA is a non-profit which evaluates and assists in the advancement of animal facilities with a focus on “conservation, education, science and recreation.”
Out of 2,800 USDA-licensed wildlife exhibitors, only about 10 percent meet the standards of the AZA.
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