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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Fort Fisher aquarium awarded prestigious accreditation

The Fort Fisher Aquarium has been accredited with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. (Port City Daily/Amy Passaretti).

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The North Carolina Aquariums at Fort Fisher was among three North Carolina aquariums awarded Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ accreditation this week. 

The North Carolina Aquariums have been accredited with AZA since 1996, are now accredited through 2027. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and 12 other countries.

The facilities completed all the steps to submit their applications and underwent on-site, multiple-day inspections by an independent team of zoological professionals.

The inspection team analyzed all aspects of the facilities’ operations, including animal welfare and wellbeing, veterinary care, staff training, safety for visitors, staff, and animals, educational programs, conservation efforts, financial stability, risk management, governance, and guest services.

In the final step, the AZA leadership and the commission members interviewed the acquarium’s top officials at a formal hearing at the AZA 2023 Mid-Year Meeting in Oklahoma City on March 26, after which the aquarium was granted accreditation.

“Accreditation from AZA is the gold standard for zoos and aquariums,” North Carolina Aquariums Director Maylon White said in a press release. “Our teams are passionate about animal care and committed to the visitor experience, and this accreditation reflects the exceptional work we do every day. We are honored to continue to receive accreditation through AZA and leverage the opportunities it provides for the North Carolina Aquariums to amplify our mission to inspire appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments.”

There are 238 AZA-accredited facilities and 15 AZA-certified related facility members throughout the U.S. and 12 other countries. The association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation.

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