AZA News Releases

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Statement on Tragedy at Conservators Center in North Carolina

SILVER SPRING, Md. – At a North Carolina big cat rescue facility, a young intern was killed by a lion that had escaped its enclosure. In response to the tragedy, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) issued the following statement:

The members and facilities of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums send its heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and colleagues of Alexandrea Black, the intern who lost her life yesterday. It is an unimaginable tragedy, and we share their grief.

Most facilities licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture to hold dangerous animals are not accredited by AZA, as is the case with the Conservators Center. Despite this, staff at the Conservators Center acknowledge the value of AZA’s practices. They have also reached out to AZA for assistance, and AZA-accredited facilities are responding with the help and support they need during this tragic time.

We are empathetic to what the staff at the Conservators Center are going through and will assist with anything they need – from animal care to food and supplies.

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

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