On a perfect weather day, the Buffalo Zoo reported Monday it has been given another five-year accreditation by the prestigious Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
It is the eighth-consecutive five-year approval for the Delaware Park facility, based on a long and detailed application and an onsite inspection looking at everything from how visitors are treated to how well the Zoo does in helping preserve endangered species, like the eastern Mississauga rattlesnake.
President and CEO Donna Fernandes says preserving endangered species is a key activity of modern zoos and the accreditation inspection was very detailed.
"They really look at everything. AZA is also continually raising those standards. So it's harder and harder every time to pass, which is a good thing," she said.
Jeff Wyatt, professor and chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine of the University of Rochester Medical Center and an advisor to the Accreditation Commission, said the Buffalo Zoo is doing well.
"We visit every five years, but it takes about that much time to prepare for the AZA accreditation. It's usually a three-member team and we look at the standards as they apply to education, research, conservation, finance, community support, outreach - amazing parameters that help us see that the Buffalo Zoo is doing above, above and beyond the minimum as it applies to other zoos and aquariums," said Wyatt.
Wyatt is also director of wildlife health and conservation at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester and a veterinarian.