Oakland Zoo renews esteemed AZA accreditation


After going through an examination, the Oakland Zoo has received the ‘gold standard’ for the zoological profession



The Oakland Zoo, managed by the Conservation Society of California (CSC), shared the news that it has earned accreditation from the independent Accreditation Commission of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Zoo underwent an examination by leading experts in December 2023 that determined the Zoo met the world’ the world's most rigorous standards for animal welfare, veterinary care, husbandry, safety, staffing, education, conservation, and more.

“Congratulations to the staff at Oakland Zoo for achieving the world’s ‘gold standard’ for the zoological profession. AZA’s accreditation standards continually evolve to reflect best practices in animal care and wellbeing, veterinary care, conservation, scientific advancement, and safety and security, among other things,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, in an organizational release.1

According to the organizational release, the Zoo was accredited by the AZA in 1988 and has been committed to the well-being of the animals, both residents and rescues, in their care. To receive the AZA accreditation, zoos must submit a detailed application and a thorough on-site visit that lasts multiple days completed by a team of zoological professionals. For Oakland Zoo, the team reviewed all of its operations including animal care and wellbeing, staff training, veterinary care, educational programs, conservation efforts, safety for animals, visitors, and staff, and more.1

A detailed report from the team and the facility alike is then evaluated by the Commission before the Commission interviews top officials from Oakland Zoo at a formal hearing. After the hearing, the accreditation is fully granted, provisionally for one year, or denied. Oakland Zoo had its official hearing in March 2024 in Memphis, Tennessee.2

“We take great pride in being an AZA-accredited facility. Being recognized at this high standard reinforces our commitment to animal wellbeing and conservation and is a testament to the unwavering dedication of our team at the Zoo”, expressed Nik Dehejia, CEO of Oakland Zoo.1

Every 5 years, AZA member institutions must repeat this entire process to be sure the institutions are upholding the evolving standards, incorporating the best modern zoological practices, and embracing the AZA philosophies.


  1. Oakland Zoo receives esteemed accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). News release. Oakland Zoo. April 8, 2024. Accessed April 8, 2024. https://www.oaklandzoo.org/news/accreditation
  2. Accreditation. Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Accessed April 8, 2024. https://www.aza.org/accreditation
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