In 1986, Roger Williams Park Zoo earned accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Our accreditation is assurance that visitors are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for guests, and a better future for all living things.
Of the more than 2,000 organizations that operate as either a zoo or aquarium, only about 200 zoos and aquariums nationwide receive AZA accreditation. Collectively AZA accredited institutions receive more than 130 million guests annually. (That is more people than attend professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey games combined.) Accreditation is a detailed review and inspection process covering all aspects of an institution's operation including the animal collection; veterinary care; physical facilities; safety; security; finance; staff; governing authority; support organization; involvement in education, conservation, and research; and adherence to AZA policies. Accreditation takes place every five years, and is required for zoos and aquariums to be members of AZA.
AZA and its 200 accredited members are leaders in global conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. AZA accredited zoos and aquariums, like Roger Williams Park Zoo, are helping to preserve thousands of animals around the world through wildlife conservation programs. Annually, AZA organizations work with more than 1,000 conservation projects in 90+ countries. Additionally, many staff contribute material focused on saving wildlife to hundreds of books, book chapters, journal articles, conference proceedings papers, posters and theses or dissertations.
AZA works cooperatively with the United States government, Congress, federal and state government agencies, and international conservation organizations on legislative and regulatory matters pertaining to animal welfare, wildlife conservation field programs, conservation research and education initiatives, and the public display of wildlife, including animal care and husbandry, transport and breeding. AZA also participates in a number of international treaties and conventions affecting wildlife, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) the International Whaling Commission, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Roger Williams Park Zoo participates in a number of nationwide AZA conservation and animal management programs, most importantly the Species Survival Plan Program (SSP). The SSP is one of the most powerful tools in combating extinction. AZA founded the program in 1981 as a cooperative population management and conservation program for select threatened and endangered species at North American zoos and aquariums.