Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Overview
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (previously American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and originally American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums) was founded in 1924 and is a nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 dedicated to the advancement of zoo
Zoo
A zoological garden, zoological park, menagerie, or zoo is a facility in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred....

s and public aquarium
Public aquarium
A public aquarium is the aquatic counterpart of a zoo, housing living aquatic species for viewing. Most public aquariums feature tanks larger than those kept by home aquarists, as well as smaller tanks. Since the first public aquariums were built in the mid-19th century, they have become popular...

s in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation.
The AZA headquarters is located in Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 71,452 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.The urbanized, oldest, and...

.

In October 1924 the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AAZPA) was formed as an affiliate of the American Institute of Park Executives (AIPE).
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Association of Zoos and Aquariums'
Start a new discussion about 'Association of Zoos and Aquariums'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (previously American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and originally American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums) was founded in 1924 and is a nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 dedicated to the advancement of zoo
Zoo
A zoological garden, zoological park, menagerie, or zoo is a facility in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred....

s and public aquarium
Public aquarium
A public aquarium is the aquatic counterpart of a zoo, housing living aquatic species for viewing. Most public aquariums feature tanks larger than those kept by home aquarists, as well as smaller tanks. Since the first public aquariums were built in the mid-19th century, they have become popular...

s in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation.
The AZA headquarters is located in Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 71,452 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.The urbanized, oldest, and...

.

History


In October 1924 the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AAZPA) was formed as an affiliate of the American Institute of Park Executives (AIPE). In 1966, the AAZPA became a professional branch affiliate of the newly formed National Recreation and Park Association
National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association provides information and services to communities in the United States attempting to make them conscious of the environment around them. It supports the construction of parks and recreational facilities around the United States...

 (NRPA which absorbed the AIPE). In the fall of 1971, the AAZPA membership voted to become an independent association and, in January 1972, it was chartered as the AAZPA with its executive office located in Wheeling, West Virginia within the Oglebay Park
Oglebay Park
Oglebay Park is a self supporting public municipal park, the only one of its kind, located on the outskirts of Wheeling, West Virginia on . The park has been open to the public since 1928 when the park's governing body, the Wheeling Park Commission, began operations at the former estate of Earl W....

 Good Zoo. In January 1994, the shorter name American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) was adopted.

In 1998, there were 134 million visits to North American zoos and aquariums.
Ten years later, in 2008, there were 175 million visits to AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

Activities


The organization is active in institution accreditation
Accreditation
Accreditation is a process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.Organizations that issue credentials or certify third parties against official standards are themselves formally accredited by accreditation bodies ; hence they are sometimes known as "accredited...

, animal care initiatives, education and conservation programs, collaborative research and political lobbying in order to achieve this goal. It serves as an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums and ensures that accredited facilities meet higher standards of animal care than are required by law. Institutions are evaluated every five years in order to ensure standards are met and to maintain accreditation. The association also facilitates both Species Survival Plan
Species Survival Plan
The American Species Survival Plan or SSP program was developed in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild....

s and Population Management Plans, which serve to sustainably manage genetically diverse captive populations of various animal species. In addition, the association sponsors the scientific journal
Scientific journal
In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past...

 Zoo Biology
Zoo Biology
Zoo Biology is a peer-reviewed scientific journal "concerned with reproduction, demographics, genetics, behavior, medicine, husbandry, nutrition, conservation and all empirical aspects of the exhibition and maintenance of wild animals in wildlife parks, zoos, and aquariums." It is published by...

.

Annual Report on Conservation and Science


The association has established a computerized database called the Annual Report on Conservation and Science. It provides a model for a broader database to help track research projects worldwide. The database can be searched by key word, name of researcher, topic, country or region, name of institution, conservation program title, name of cooperating institution (including governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, colleges or universities, and non-member zoos and aquariums), type of research, or date.

In 2000-2001, member institutions reported that they participated in over 2,230 conservation projects (1,390 in situ and 610 ex situ, 230 both) in 94 countries. They published 1,450 books, book chapters, journal articles, conference proceeding papers, posters and theses or dissertations. The publications can be searched using keywords, name of author, type of publication, institution name, or date.

Regulation


In the United States, any public animal exhibit must be licensed and inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

 (USDA), United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

, Drug Enforcement Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970...

, and others. Depending on the animals they exhibit, the activities of zoos are regulated by laws including the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

, the Animal Welfare Act
Animal Welfare Act
The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 24, 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers...

, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 , codified at , is a United States federal law, at first enacted in 1916 in order to implement the convention for the protection of migratory birds between the United States and Great Britain...

and others.
Additionally, zoos in North America may choose to pursue accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The American association has developed a definition for zoological gardens and aquariums as part of its accreditation standards: "A permanent cultural institution which owns and maintains captive wild animals that represent more than a token collection and, under the direction of a professional staff, provides its collection with appropriate care and exhibits them in an aesthetic manner to the public on a regularly scheduled basis. They shall further be defined as having as their primary business the exhibition, conservation and preservation of the earth's fauna in an educational and scientific manner." To achieve accreditation, a zoo must pass an application and inspection process and meet or exceed the AZA's standards for animal health and welfare, fundraising, zoo staffing, and involvement in global conservation efforts. Inspection is performed by three experts (typically one veterinarian, one expert in animal care, and one expert in zoo management and operations) and then reviewed by a panel of twelve experts before accreditation is awarded. This accreditation process is repeated once every five years. The AZA estimates that there are approximately 2,400 animal exhibits operating under USDA license as of February 2007; fewer than 10% are accredited.