(WBRZ News 2) According to a release, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums has opted to not renew its accreditation for BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo.
The news comes after a review from the AZA's Accreditation Commission, a decision rendered by an independent panel of AZA representatives. Less than 10 percent of animal exhibitors registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have achieved AZA accreditation, a distinction that the Baton Rouge Zoo has held for 40 years.
“Unfortunately, our nearly 48-year old zoo did not meet the rigorous standards set forth by the AZA – a disappointing but unsurprising decision given the significant maintenance and capital needs we know exist at our Zoo,” said Phil Frost, Baton Rouge Zoo Director. “We will closely follow the concerns highlighted by the AZA Accreditation Commission as a guide for addressing all outstanding issues that led to this decision, as we work diligently to ensure that we regain our accreditation over the course of the next few years to the extent current funding and other currently dedicated resources will allow. An immediate funding campaign will be needed in order to achieve this.”
In the decision rendered by the AZA Commission, examiners express broad concerns regarding dated exhibits that are not reflective of modern zoological practices, along with an aging infrastructure which makes repairs and maintenance difficult, according to the release.
The loss of the accreditation comes days after the unanimous vote to keep the zoo in Baker.