Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom theme park and the accompanying Animal Kingdom Lodge have again receive accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.)
Receiving this accreditation is a high honor as it is considered “the gold standard in animal care.” According to Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks. “I’m incredibly proud of the entire Animals, Science and Environment Team for earning this stellar accomplishment.”
They should be proud. This process is overseen by an ‘Accreditation Commission’ made up of 16 “experienced and trained experts in operations, animal welfare and husbandry, and veterinary medicine.” It’s their job to remain impartial and “to thoroughly examine each zoo or aquarium that applies for AZA accreditation to determine if AZA standards are being met.”
Zoos and Aquariums that pass this process can become members of the AZA. This means that Disney’s animal teams are doing a fantastic job. Fewer than 10% of licensed animal exhibitors earn this accreditation–it’s a big deal.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund, which works to save wildlife and protect nature. One thing I love about the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is the dedication the Cast Members have to protect the animals and to encourage guests to do what they can to help the planet through “everyday actions.”
I have my criticisms about Disney from time to time, but their animal teams really do deserve this accreditation as they support their animals and the efforts of other groups to save species around the world.
Good job and congratulations!
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