UTICA, N.Y. – After a yearlong application process, the Utica Zoo announced Monday evening that the zoo acquired accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The Utica Zoo lost its accredited status in 2004 due to -Zoo officials cited, in part, deferred maintenance and a lack of fundraising necessary to properly operate the Zoo.
In July the zoo underwent a three day inspection process. According to Andria Heath, executive director of the Utica Zoo, the inspection committee noted 12 findings that needed to be addressed before accreditation would be granted.
Contractors and volunteers have worked since July of 2018 to make necessary renovations and upgrades required to bring the Zoo to “modern Zoological practices”.
Andria explained that an AZA accreditation carries numerous benefits including; recognition from the top animal care facilities in the world. Accreditation also allows access to certain funding and grants, expanded participation in animal exchange and breeding programs, and access to collaborate with world renowned animal care specialists. Don Shipman also talked with Andria Heath shortly after she and her staff learned their zoo earned its AZA accreditation. She said this new distinction will also benefit the greater Utica economy by way of more tourism dollars being pumped into the region.