Roosevelt Park Zoo receives AZA accreditation

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MINOT, N.D. - As we reported Tuesday, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums granted the accreditation of Roosevelt Park Zoo by the AZA's independent Accreditation Commission.

Accredited since 1989, the Roosevelt Park Zoo says the AZA is the gold-medal standard and having the accreditation makes them a reputable zoo.

"People can know by coming and supporting the Roosevelt Park Zoo that they are supporting a quality zoo that does put animal welfare as a high priority and all of our aspects of operations,” said Becky Dewitz, the Roosevelt Park Zoo director.

The AZA doesn't hand out accreditation to any zoo; it is a rigorous process. Dewitz says it takes nearly a year to complete, with a formal application, a multi-day sight inspection and then a hearing where the zoo learns if they pass, fail or the request is tabled.

"Only 239 zoos and aquariums throughout the nation and even internationally can achieve this high standard. So we are talking less than 10 percent of USDA exhibit holders can meet this high standard,” said Dewitz.

Established in 1921, the Roosevelt Park Zoo is the oldest in North Dakota. Dewitz says that they are focused on updating the older exhibits.

"They were very proud of our development process that we have been doing lately. Specifically the lion and tiger exhibits that we have underway. It is replacing that old ages infrastructure that is critical as we continue to develop,” said Dewitz.

She says they do it all to provide the best animal welfare they can.

By being an AZA zoo it also allows Roosevelt to participate in the Species Survival Breeding Program as well as the AZA SAFE, which is saving animals from extinction. Dewitz says they are connected to big and small zoos across the country working to save species just like the Amur Tigers.

For more information on the accreditation process you can visit www.aza.org