Zoo Boise Achieves Third National Accreditation

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The president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums presented Zoo Boise officials with new accreditation credentials this afternoon.

"We set the standards for animal care and welfare and modern zoological practices," AZA CEO Jim Maddy told Citydesk. "And we enforce them pretty rigorously."

Maddy estimated that there are approximately 2,200 zoos or professional exhibitions and displays in North America, while only 223 are accredited.

"If you keep a zoo just like it is for five years, chances are you won't pass your next accreditation," said Maddy. "Science-driven standards are a continuing process."

Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns pointed to a 400-plus-page binder that represented the 2012 accreditation application.

Zoo Boise has been accredited three times in 15 years, with no break in its accreditation.

Playing host to an average 325,000 annual visitors, Zoo Boise operates on an annual budget of approximately $2.2 million and employs 26 year-round employees, with 50 workers added during the zoo's peak summer months.

"Additionally, we clock approximately 38,000 volunteers hours each year," said Burns.

Maddy told Citydesk that he kept a close eye on the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, which, in addition to knocking out power and services to millions of Americans, threatened animals in New York area aquariums.

"The New York Aquarium, on Coney Island, was completely flooded," said Maddy. "Some animals were rescued, some were lost. Think of it: That storm knocked out electricity and water pressure, and aquariums are particularly fragile."

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