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2023 Award Applications

All ZAA members are eligible to apply for the awards
Application deadline: July 31, 2023
View past winners

Excellence in Breeding

The breakthroughs in successful breeding of a species by ZAA Accredited Facilities leads to a higher level of captive management, welfare and husbandry knowledge. The Excellence in Breeding Award recognizes a truly momentous captive propagation achievement that enhances the conservation of the species, whether common or endangered, in captivity.

In Situ Conservation

The survival and enhancement of biodiversity in the natural environment of a species requires the support of everyone. Accredited institutions exemplify the ability of ZAA institutions to make dramatic differences in the conservation of species in their natural habitat. The In Situ Conservation Award recognizes significant contributions to enhancing the conservation of an animal species in nature. Types of contributions include, but are not limited to, fiscal, educational and personnel in support of a single species or ecotype(s) supporting the species.

Ex situ Conservation

The conservation potential of zoos and aquariums to maintaining biodiversity, protecting animals by means of breeding programs, animal husbandry, and zoological facility cooperation represents the commitment made by Accredited Institutions. The Ex Situ Conservation Award recognizes excellence in captive care, welfare and propagation of animal species in captivity, as a hedge against extinction.

Educational Award of Excellence

Learning more about wildlife and encouraging others to explore their love of nature and the splendors that is holds is vital to the success of any Zoo or Aquarium institution. Creating opportunities for visitors of all ages and backgrounds to have meaningful experiences, feel connected, committed and curious in our wild classrooms is a commitment of the ZAA. The Educational Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding achievement and innovation in education program design and implementation.

Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence

The Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence recognizes excellence in the area of new and unique live animal display, exhibit design and construction by a ZAA member. Innovation and your unique approach to animal welfare, husbandry, public appreciation, success in design and operation, educational message and dedication to conservation and breeding as opposed to huge capital spending, is a ZAA imperative. Innovations in exhibit design and development allow more ZAA zoos and aquariums to participate in high quality habitats facilitating species welfare and conservation.

Comprehensive Immersion Exhibits

The breakthrough in exhibit development over the past 30 years has been the immersion of the visitor into the re-creation of natural landscape displays which inspire a connection and respect for the animal’s environment and places. ZAA Accredited Facilities have taken a leadership role further by re-creating more comprehensive immersion to large areas of the zoo or aquarium. The comprehensive immersion includes multiple quality animal exhibits supported with restaurants, gift shops, walkways or more that all support a thematic design. This expanded design theme connects the visitor to the animal and human inhabitants within a biogeographical area through a unique mixture of presenting the culture, landscaping, history and life within a biogeographical area. The Comprehensive Immersion Exhibit Award message might include, education programming, technology, behavioral management, enrichment, citizen science or other innovative ideas centering the design immersion to create a holistic approach to the animal/human connection. It should inspire the visitor to appreciate and take action to preserve the wildlife in that focal region.

Long-Term Commitment and Significant Propagation of a Single Species

ZAA recognizes the exceptional efforts of our institutions that have reached significant propagation goals and have dedicated outstanding commitment to a single species. This award recognizes any species whether common or endangered where the institution has produced long term success in establishing the husbandry results for breeding while showing commitment to sustainability of the species.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Awarded by the Board of Directors

The ZAA Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest ZAA honor for professional excellence and contribution to the zoo industry. The award recognizes the improvements made to the craft of zookeeping and zoo management by an individual. Must be a ZAA professional fellow member.

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