Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium received high marks in nearly every category when they were granted a five-year accreditation renewal earlier this month.
A commission from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) visited the zoo for three days in July to inspect its operations. The ensuing report was glowing, rating all operations as “excellent.”
“The community should take great pride in knowing that Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is ranked among the best zoos and aquariums in the world,” AZA President Jim Maddy said.
The nonprofit organization has accredited fewer than 10 percent of the 2,400 animal exhibits licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Point Defiance is among them.
Highlights from the report include recognition for the zoo’s animal enrichment program and commitment to conservation and research. The commission credited the animal care, education, staff morale, veterinary department, dive safety program and maintenance and grounds as excellent.
The one black mark in the report was for the 50-year-old North Pacific Aquarium, which zoo officials had already acknowledged needed attention. As part of a long-reaching strategic plan, officials have recommended an upgraded aquarium exhibit complex.