The Oregon Zoo drew praise from colleagues at zoos and aquariums across North America this month, earning another prestigious award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums — its sixth such honor over the past three years. The award was announced Wednesday at AZA’s annual conference, held this year in Orlando, Fla.
“The AZA awards represent the highest honors in the zoo and aquarium world,” said Teri Dresler, interim zoo director. “They show that we’ve earned the respect of our peers from around the country, and we are very proud of this achievement.”
“For a zoo to win six AZA awards over the span of three years is extraordinary,” said Jim Maddy, AZA president and CEO. “In 2012, when the Oregon Zoo won three awards, I traveled to Portland to tell the Metro Council just how special that achievement was. Last year, the Oregon Zoo earned two more awards, and this year it has won another top honor. Oregonians can be very proud of their zoo — it’s universally regarded as among the top zoos in North America.”
This year, the Oregon Zoo took home AZA’s Marketing Excellence Award for the second consecutive year, receiving top honors for its “Flock This Way” campaign promoting the zoo’s pink flamingo exhibit.
At last year’s AZA conference, the Oregon Zoo earned top honors in two categories — winning a North American Conservation Award for its 12-year effort to save the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit, as well as a Marketing Excellence Award for communications related to Asian elephant Packy’s 50th birthday.
And in 2012, the zoo received three awards: two for conservation work on behalf of endangered species (Oregon spotted frogs and Oregon silverspot butterflies) plus a special Green Award for environmental efforts in its day-to-day operations.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums — a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation — is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and six other countries. In 1974, the Oregon Zoo became just the second zoo in the country to earn accreditation from the AZA, which currently accredits fewer than 200 zoos nationwide.
The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife.