As a peak body, the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) represents the collective voice of the zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries and wildlife parks across Australasia that operate to the highest standards.
We have a progressive, science-based approach to animal welfare. Using the Five Domains Model, ZAA grants accreditation to zoos and aquariums that have clearly demonstrated their commitment to positive welfare. This approach champions welfare from the animal’s perspective and it underpins all that we do.
By law, the government requires zoos and aquariums to meet minimum standards to protect animals from bad welfare. The ZAA Accreditation Program goes further, using the Five Domains to focus on good welfare. It asks the question, is the animal having a fulfilling life of positive experiences?
The Program assesses our members’ commitment and achievements towards positive animal welfare. It requires them to think deeply about the welfare of the animals in their care and strive for continuous improvement.
Members must provide compelling evidence for set criteria on both their operations and the experiences of their animals. This is reviewed by ZAA, before one of our expert Accreditation Officers visits the site in-person to validate the findings. Accreditation reports must be sent to the Standards and Accreditation Committee and approvals endorsed by the ZAA Board before accreditation is granted.
Our assessment tool can be used to assess the welfare of any species and even allows for evidence of individual animals' preferences. Being evidence based, the program can incorporate new research and technology as we learn more about the welfare of different species.
ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums operate to the highest levels. They must be assessed every three years to retain their accreditation status. International members are assessed yearly.