IDAHO FALLS, Idaho: The Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park will start its Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) inspection today.
Over the next two and a half days, zoo professionals will review all aspects of zoo operations. “While the inspectors do have a heavy focus on animal care and health, they also look at the grounds, the facilities, education programs, conservation programs, graphics, guest services, safety and long-term plans for the zoo,” says Beth Rich, zoo superintendent.
Zoos that are members of the AZA are inspected every five years. Of the 2,500 zoos that are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and open to the public, less than 250 of them are accredited by the AZA. “Achieving accreditation is very difficult, but very important,” states Rich. “Because we are accredited, we work cooperatively with other zoos and have many of the public’s favorite animals including African penguins, snow leopards, Amur tiger, sloth bears, red pandas and all the primates. Should we ever lose our accreditation, we risk losing availability to those species,” adds Rich.
Beyond having the animals to show to the public, accreditation also lets the public know that the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park has the very highest standards of animal care and welfare. “The AZA standards for animal care are very stringent. We have to demonstrate policies, procedures and practices that show we have appropriate enclosures, diet, feeding practices, enrichment, training, vet care and staff with the knowledge to care for their assigned species,” states Rich.
This is not the first time the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park has undergone an accreditation inspection. The zoo first became accredited in 1998, with subsequent inspections in 2003 and 2009.
At the end of the inspection, the inspectors will meet with the zoo staff to go over any concerns. Zoo staff will address the concerns and file follow-up reports, if needed. The zoo will find out if they officially pass inspection in September of this year at the AZA National Conference in Orlando.
Admission to the Idaho Falls Zoo is just $7 for adults 13-61 years old, $5.50 for seniors 62 and older, $4 for children 4-12 years old and children 3 and under are free. For more information visit the zoo online at www.idahofallszoo.org.
For more information on our education programs or to register for classes, visit our website www.idahofallszoo.org and click on Education Programs or contact the Zoo Education Department at (208) 612-8453 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visitors are always welcome to visit the gift shop for additional information, open daily from 9am-4pm.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of Idaho Falls Contact:
Public Information Officer
Office: (208) 612-8122