AAZK Position Statements

American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) Position Statements 

AAZK’s purpose is to foster a professional attitude in animal keepers and aquarists by encouraging them to become active members of professional teams at today’s zoos and aquariums. AAZK supports the promotion and implementation of zookeeper education and strives to make the general public aware of our concern for all deserving conservation projects and the need for the preservation of our natural resources and the species that depend on those resources.

  • Animal Exhibition 4.01-2
    • Exhibition of animals to the public or the housing of animals for the purpose of conservation, education, reproduction or reproductive research, shall be carried out with the highest regard for the animals’ health and well-being. The minimum standards for cleanliness and care accepted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) shall be followed for all animals housed in zoos, aquariums and related facilities.
    • Special attention shall be given, by the keepers, regarding exhibit maintenance – in order to simulate the animals’ natural habitat, to present an aesthetically pleasing enclosure and to meet the mental and physical requirements of the animals in their charge.
    • Animals shall receive veterinary care from an appropriately licensed veterinarian under the procedures set forth in the Guidelines for Zoo Veterinary Medical Programs and Veterinary Programs prepared by the Veterinary Standards Committee of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) (rev. 2012).
  • Surplus Animals 4.01-2
    AAZK endorses the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Acquisition/Disposition Policy (current) for live animal surplus:

    • The AZA Acquisition/Disposition Policy (A/D) was created to help (1) guide and support member institutions in their animal acquisition and disposition decisions, and (2) ensure that all additions and removals are compatible with the Association’s stated commitment to “save and protect the wonders of the living natural world.” More specifically, the AZA A/D Policy is intended to:
      1. Ensure that the welfare of individual animals and conservation of populations, species and ecosystems are carefully considered during acquisition and disposition activities;
      2. Maintain a proper standard of conduct for AZA members during acquisition and disposition activities; and
      3. Ensure that animals from AZA member institutions are not transferred to individuals or organizations that lack the appropriate expertise or facilities to care for them.
      4. Support the goal of AZA’s cooperatively managed populations and associated programs [Species Survival Plans (SSPs), Population Management Plans (PMPs), and Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs)].
    • The AZA Acquisition/Disposition Policy will serve as the default policy for AZA member institutions. Institutions may develop their own A/D Policy in order to address specific local concerns. Any institutional policy must incorporate and not conflict with the AZA acquisition and disposition standards.
To learn more about AAZK visit:  https://aazk.org