Erie Zoo staff weighs in on what loss of accreditation means for the zoo

Local News

The Erie Zoo has lost its formal accreditation after more than 30 years, this announcement comes Wednesday from the Association of Zoos and Acquariums.

Zoo staffers say while this is unfortunate news, this feedback encourages them to pursue renovation projects. The community will start to notice this in 2022.

After 37 years, the Erie Zoo has lost its accreditation granted by the Association of Zoos and Acquariums.

“Some of our exhibit designs, not in reference to the well-being of the animals or what is needed, but we are an older zoo,” said Emily Smicker, Event Coordinator at the Erie Zoo. “We did not meet the AZA standards of modern zoological design.”

Smicker says while it may mean more paperwork for zoo office employees, visitors should not be concerned.

“Visitors are a little worried about the reciprocal list, the partnerships we have with other zoos, that doesn’t necessarily need to change. The Pittsburgh Zoo is not an AZA-affiliated zoo but they are on all the reciprocal lists. We now just have to do a little bit more work to be on those lists.” Smicker said.

Smicker says while this is unfortunate, they plan on making improvements to be reaccredited during the next review process.

“We fully plan to apply for reaccreditation. We’re working with AZA and other experts to make sure we’re on the right track again. We will be eligible to apply for reaccreditation in September of 2022.” Smicker said.

Smicker says the soonest inspection would be in 2023. However, plans are already in the works to upgrade the facility and bring in new exhibits.

“As sad as this news is, it’s actually an excellent opportunity for us to make some of those leaps in achievement and design.” Smicker said.

The Zoo will be closing at the end of November as they do every year and will reopen again in March.

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