Have a concern about a zoo or aquarium that you have recently visited, or that you currently or previously worked for? While the Association of Zoos & Aquariums is the primary accrediting body for zoos and aquariums in the United States, not all institutions are members of our organization. We believe that any operation with a collection of living creatures should be required to meet only the highest of standards. Our standards are very strict and, since international, federal and state laws do not require that all operations holding wildlife be accredited, it remains a voluntary process. In fact, only 10% of zoos licensed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have achieved AZA’s rigorous standards. As a nonprofit, nongovernment organization, we do not have the authority or the ability to regulate zoos that are not our members.
If your concerns involve a non-accredited facility (check the Institution Status page to find out), you may consider contacting USDA to register your concerns, or to inquire as to how you should do so.
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737
If your concerns involve an AZA-accredited institution, please submit a detailed account of your concerns to AZAAccreditation@AZA.org, along with photographs or any form of documentation you have. Concerns may also be submitted in writing to: Accreditation Department, AZA, 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 710, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. As the accrediting body, we take all concerns seriously. It is important to note, however, that only those concerns directly related to AZA accreditation standards will be investigated according to our standard process.
As with any investigative process, evidence and corroboration are of paramount importance. If you have any documentation (photos, videos, records, files, etc.) to support your concerns, please submit it. Similarly, if there are other individuals that can corroborate your observations, please encourage them to do so in writing so as to strengthen the case.
If you request to remain anonymous, we will honor that request and will not share your name or position with the institution in question during the course of our inquiry. However, please keep in mind that the facility may determine that information on its own, based on knowledge obtained that is beyond our control.
In addition, to preserve the integrity of our process, all findings will remain confidential. This procedural guarantee of confidentiality allows AZA, as an accrediting organization, access to restricted materials, and creates a safe platform for communication between the AZA Accreditation Commission and AZA member institutions. By extending confidentiality, an accrediting body can more accurately get at the truth of a matter so that a correct and informed decision can be made, and appropriate action taken. Although we will not be able to share the results of our inquiry with you, please know that we will look into your concerns, and if we find that any accreditation standards are not being maintained, we will work with the institution to assure the issues are properly addressed.
Any compliments received will be shared with the institution’s staff.