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HONOLULU ZOO TO CONTINUE SEEKING ACCREDITATION  

(Tues, March 29, 2011)—The Honolulu Zoo is developing a comprehensive compliance plan to systematically address various issues that have prevented it from attaining accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Last week, the AZA tabled its re-accreditation of the zoo for one year. In addition to noting numerous positive strides taken by the zoo, including its overall physical appearance and a brand new, attractive zoo entrance, the organization raised concerns regarding the filling of vacant personnel positions, repairs and upgrades of animal exhibits, and a lack of sufficient directional signage and educational graphics. 

The AZA gave the zoo a list of items to address over the next nine months, at which time the organization will send an inspection team to review the zoo’s progress. The zoo will maintain its current accreditation status while the review is pending. Zoo officials have already addressed a number of items noted and plan to address all deficiencies by refocusing existing resources or seeking additional funding from the private sector.

Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo emphasized that the zoo’s animals are well cared for and that many positive improvements are under way, such as construction of a major new elephant exhibit. 

“I feel confident that, with the continued support of the City and County of Honolulu and a stronger financial commitment by the Honolulu Zoological Society, the zoo can address all of the issues noted and can continue to operate as an accredited member of the AZA,” he said.

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Media contact: Department of Enterprise Services Director Sidney Quintal, 768-5415.