AZA News Releases

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Announces National Photo Contest Winner

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has announced the winner of the 2017 AZA Photo Contest, which recognizes exceptional photography taken at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

All photos eligible for submission must be taken by staff or volunteers at an AZA facility, and may feature animals, people, habitats, and other zoo or aquarium scenes. The winning photo and other exceptional submissions are highlighted in the December issue of AZA’s member magazine, Connect.

This year’s winning photo, submitted by Grahm Jones of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, spotlights the zoo’s polar bear Anana swimming with her cub, Amelia Gray. To capture the shot, Jones leaned out above the Zoo’s Polar Frontier habitat with his Nikon D750 camera and 70-200mm lens while wearing a safety harness so he could shoot straight down as Anana gave Amelia a swim lesson.

  Image of Polar Bears Anana and Amelia Gray swim at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium- Photo by Grahm Jones

Jones graduated Columbus College of Art and Design with a degree in photography, and has worked in the Columbus Zoo’s media productions department since 2003. His job includes all the photography and videography needs of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and its affiliates, Zoombezi Bay, Safari Golf Course and The Wilds.

His imagery has been featured in USA Today,, the Washington Post, National Geographic,, CBS News, Good Morning America, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild, Columbus Monthly, The Columbus Dispatch and has received widespread coverage through various social media platforms.

Jones said his goal is to present others with imagery that stirs their emotions and causes them to care about the Columbus Zoo’s mission to protect wildlife and wild places.

Honorable mentions include the following submissions:

•    "Greater Argus" by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo
•    "Little (Fairy) Penguin" by Kegan Storms, Abilene Zoo
•    "Reticulated Giraffe" by Shandy Mikkelsen, Blank Park Zoo
•    "Mandrill" by Jamie Pham, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
•    "Ring-tailed Lemur" by Todd Stailey, Tennessee Aquarium
•    "Coquerel’s Sifaka" by David Haring, Duke Lemur Center
•    "Decorated Warbonnet and Strawberry Anemone" by Vanessa Volkommer, Vancouver Aquarium
•    "Ribboned Sea Dragon" by Dave Sigworth, Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
•    "Dama Gazelle" by Dave Liggett, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
•    "Red Ruffed Lemur" by Caitlin Kenney, Lemur Conservation Foundation
•    "Red Panda" by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
•    "California Sea Lion" by Julie Larsen Maher, Wildlife Conservation Society

All the photos can be viewed at:  

Photo Contest winner page:

Honorable Mentions:




About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as 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. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

Posted by Ashley Jones at 12:00 PM

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