Cheyenne Mountain Zoo earns rare clean accreditation from AZA


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has earned an incredibly rare clean report of inspection and its seventh consecutive five-year accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

In almost 50 years of accreditations, CMZoo is only the fourth organization to earn a ‘clean’ report.

Mayor John Suthers joined Cheyenne Mountain Zoo President and CEO Bob Chastain to recognize the Zoo’s staff.

“The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit,’” said Dan Ashe, AZA president and CEO. “Congratulations to the entire team at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. AZA accreditation is the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standard for a modern zoo or aquarium. Achieving a completely clean accreditation inspection is extremely rare and reflects a constant commitment and dedication to excellence.”

This AZA accreditation is considered the gold standard. There are approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture but only 242 are accredited by the AZA.

To maintain accreditation, organizations must apply and be inspected every five years. CMZoo has been consistently accredited since 1983. The accreditation process includes a lengthy application and a multi-day on-site inspection by the Accreditation Commission, a team of accomplished zoo and aquarium professionals.

“This is one of those milestones that people outside of the Zoo profession may not realize is a huge deal,” said Bob Chastain, CMZoo president and CEO. “Our organization is led by a series of guiding sentiments, which we call our ‘We Believe’ statements. We believe our animals deserve the best home we can provide. We believe we can make the world a better place, and that the work we do and the way we treat people matters. We believe in holding ourselves to standards that put us above reproach. We believe people are the key to the future of wildlife and wild places. We believe every guest’s experience, from gate to gate, is crucial to our success. This accreditation wasn’t earned overnight.”

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