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AZA grants accreditation to NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

SILVER SPRING, M.D. – The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced that the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

“By meeting the highest standards, The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is regarded as among the world’s best zoos and aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is a proven leader in the care and conservation of wildlife, and in inspiring people to take action to protect the natural world.”

To be accredited, the Aquarium underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association. 

The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas.

Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied.  Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

Founded in 1924, the AZA 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 seven 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. Through AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction, AZA-accredited facilities are collectively working to use their conservation science, wildlife expertise and the 183 million visitors to save species in the wild by identifying threats, developing action plans, raising new resources and engaging the public. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.

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