UPDATE – APRIL 1, 2015 – The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero has had its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums renewed for another five years. Read full story.
The Charles Paddock Zoo was granted accreditation by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Accreditation Commission. “Accreditation has been a major effort and we are very pleased that the Zoo has been recognized by the AZA as maintaining high standards in animal care, conservation, education and operations, “ stated Alan Baker, Zoo Director. Accreditation is granted for five years, at the end of which the institution must undergo the rigorous investigation again to ensure it meets ever-rising industry standards.
Accreditation means that the Charles Paddock Zoo is among the elite zoological institutions in the country, as there are over 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the federal government, and the Charles Paddock Zoo is one of only 214 accredited institutions. “We are very proud of the Zoo staff and appreciative of the tremendous support from the Central Coast Zoo Society”, said Brady Cherry, Community Services Director. “Accreditation is crucial for the Zoo, as it reaffirms our commitment to professionalism, veterinary care, ethics, education and the zoo’s many other programs,” he added. Accreditation became a mandatory requirement for membership in AZA in 1980.
The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold and raise the highest zoological industry standards through peer review, self-evaluation and on-site inspection by outside professional teams. The inspecting teams review the extensive initial application, and observe all aspects of the facility’s operation, including collection care, keeper training, educational programs, veterinary care, financial stability, visitor services and other areas. The teams prepare a report to the Accreditation Commission. Finally, a formal hearing is scheduled where the Commission interviews top officials from the zoo, after which accreditation is either granted, tabled or denied.
“We are very pleased to grant accreditation to the Charles Paddock Zoo,” stated Sydney J. Butler, Executive Director of AZA. Alan Baker said the zoo would now move forward with planning new exhibits and major improvements. “We are excited about the future of the Zoo, and upgrading our facilities to better manage the animal collection and enhance the experience for our zoo visitors, “ said Baker. “The Zoo is well-known on the Central Coast, and we want to make the Charles Paddock Zoo a major destination for visitors outside of San Luis Obispo County,” he added.
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