AZA Accredited Institution
What it means to be AZA accredited
The Buttonwood Park Zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 2003. We are one of only 233 accredited zoos and aquariums across the United States. In order to be accredited the Zoo undergoes a rigorous inspection by a team of zoological professionals. During this inspection, which occurs every five years, a detailed assessment and review of all aspects of the institutions’ operations occurs in the following categories: animal collection, animal welfare, animal management, veterinary care, governing authority, staff, support organization, finances, physical facilities, safety and security, guest services and our involvement in education, conservation and research. Our accreditation is your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things.
Description of AZA Programs
The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in a number of nationwide AZA conservation and animal management programs including: Taxon Advisory Group, Species Survival Plan, and Regional Studbooks.
- Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) examines the conservation needs of an entire taxa (group of similar species) and develops recommendations for population management and conservation based upon the needs of the species and those of AZA-accredited institutions. TAGs develop an action plan that identifies essential goals, scientific investigations, conservation initiatives needed to best serve ex situ (in captivity) and in situ (in the wild) populations, and a Regional Collection Plan that specifies the optimal manner in which the ex situ populations should be managed.
- The goal of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) is to cooperatively manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species populations within accredited zoos and aquariums. Each SSP program is responsible for developing a comprehensive population Studbook and a Breeding and Transfer Plan which identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population. SSP programs, as well as AZA accredited zoos and aquariums, significantly contribute to field conservation efforts, species recovery, veterinary care for wildlife disease issues, establishment of assurance populations, as well as many other species-focused conservation.
- A Regional Studbook documents the pedigree and entire demographic history of each individual in a population of species. Studbooks are invaluable tools that track and manage each individual cared for in AZA-accredited institutions.