The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced that the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

To be accredited, Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, 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 and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted or denied.  Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

In 2016, AZA notified Mesker Park Zoo that certain conditions or requirements of accreditation were not being met and concerns exist. The Zoo remained accredited during the tabled year and addressed the concerns noted. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke initiated and Evansville City Council voted to set aside $112,000 in 2016 and $78,000 in 2017 to correct the issues presented, and Mayor Winnecke has committed to setting aside additional funds as part of the budget process going forward.

Information courtesy of the City of Evansville website.