AZA is dedicated to maintaining standards of excellence in all aspects of animal care and management. Cooperative management of animals among AZA-accredited institutions is vital for ensuring healthy, genetically diverse populations. There are over 500 cooperatively managed Animal Programs, including Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs) and Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Programs. These Animal Programs are led by AZA member volunteers who work collaboratively with Board-level Committees, Scientific Advisory Groups (SAGs), and AZA-accredited institutions. Planning tools, databases, software, and specialized centers have been created to enhance animal population management strategies. In addition, Animal Care Manuals are developed by AZA species experts, who compile all of the recommended best practices in caring for an animal to advance the best animal health, husbandry, and welfare practices of that species. Read more about AZA’s Animal Programs, population sustainability, and animal care.
While AZA and its member institutions are dedicated to providing the best-quality care to animals in zoos and aquariums, they also tirelessly work to positively impact wildlife and wild habitat. This is approached in a number of different ways – through AZA’s and its Animal Programs’ own conservation initiatives and partnerships, through on-the-ground field conservation efforts undertaken by member institutions, through engaging the public in citizen science programs such as AZA’s own FrogWatch USA, and through awarding well-deserved organizations and individuals with the funding they need to make a difference. Read more about the conservation efforts that AZA, accredited zoos and aquariums, and certified related facilities are involved in.
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums play a vital role in educating over 175 million visitors, and 12 million students in the classroom or in the field, about wild animals, their habitats, their related conservation issues, and the ways in which they can contribute to their preservation. Over the past ten years, AZA-accredited institutions have also trained more than 400,000 teachers with award-winning and proven science curricula. Information, protocols, and tools have been developed to help educators manage ambassador animal presentations, deliver consistent conservation messages, and supply thematic educational activities and serve to augment education program planning and raise public awareness about, and actions towards, conservation concerns. Read more about AZA’s conservation education programs and resources.