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ZAA Accreditation is a rigorous process that includes an extensive application and site inspection. The institution must undergo the complete process every five years to maintain their accredited status.



The ZAA Accreditation Standards is a comprehensive document to provide guidance in best practices to ZAA accredited facilities.  


Application Fees
$300 application fee
$500 site inspection deposit

Annual Dues
Based on the number of full time (32+ hours) year round employees

  • Small (1-5 full time employees) $1,250
  • Medium (6-19 full time employees) $2,500
  • Large (20-59 full time employees) $3,500
  • Macro (60+ full time employees) $5,500


Accreditation Categories
  • Accredited Facility: A traditional zoo, aquarium, or educational facility that exhibits exotic and/or wild animals to the public and has an educational and conservation message. The facility may be open to the public with regular hours or by appointment. Public visitation may be by facility staff guided or self-guided tours. Educational outreach facilities that have programs using exotic and/or wild animals.

  • Associated-Accredited Facility: Propagates exotic/or wild animals for conservation purposes or supplying zoological facilities. Not open to the public. Participates in and/or supports conservation advocacy.

ZAA facility accreditation is not available to exotic and/or wild animal pet owners.

Accredited facilities and associated-accredited facilities must have a professional fellow-level member. Please apply for professional fellow prior to submitting your accredited facility application.

Two sponsor letters are required. At least one letter must be from a ZAA accredited facility. The second letter may be from a current ZAA professional fellow member.


Objectives of Accreditation
  • Set and follow professional standards for husbandry, animal care practices, and animal welfare and well-being.
  • Maintain accurate animal and medical records.
  • Enhance the survival of species by the use of appropriate methods.
  • Maintain an appropriate, safe, and quality existence for animals kept in human care.
  • Ensure the safety of humans, both staff and visitors, from injury and disease.



  • Submit the completed the ZAA Accreditation Application and required attachments to info@zaa.org.
  • Submit the Application fees.
  • Contact the ZAA office for questions.


Facilities are graded in many categories, including the following: (click)
  • Physical Facility
  • Husbandry, Animal Care Practices, Animal Welfare and Well-Being
  • Record Keeping and Health Care Records
  • Knowledge of Animals by Personnel
  • Animal Diet and Nutrition
  • Facility Security
  • Veterinary Care
  • Licensing and Permits
  • Safety Plans and Risk Management
  • Adherence to the ZAA Accreditation Standards
Inspection details (click)
  • Inspections are performed by the accreditation inspection team of two or more individuals.
  • The site inspections will be conducted at the expense of the applicant.
  • The inspectors are chosen by the accreditation committee chair. The applicant has the right of refusal for any inspector.


The accreditation committee will review the application and site inspection. The applicant may be:
a). tabled and given a timeframe to correct deficiencies,
b). denied, or
c). recommended as an accredited facility member.

Once approved, the applicant will be submitted to the board of directors for approval with a pro simple majority vote. Annual dues will be billed at this time.

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