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The original item was published from 11/1/2017 4:19:00 PM to 12/1/2017 12:00:03 AM.

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County Parks and Zoo

Posted on: October 30, 2017


The Cape May County Park and Zoo has once again been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

President and CEO of AZA, Dan Ashe, presented a plaque noting the zoo’s accreditation through 2022 to the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Directors and Staff of the Cape May County Park and Zoo on Fri., Oct. 27.

Ashe, who toured the Cape May County Park and Zoo before the official presentation, commented on the joy and privilege to walk around the Zoo and see so many young kids enjoying the attraction.

“I want to thank you for cultivating an appreciation for conservancy in our young people,” said Ashe.

“AZA accreditation means that every aspect of your facility including conservation, education, guest services, and finance were evaluated. I am sure that everyone who works here was part of the rigorous review. And today, I am proud to recognize the Cape May County Zoo as one of the best, not just in the U.S., but in the world,” he added.

Freeholder Jeffrey L. Pierson told the audience that he knows the hard work and dedication that it took to pursue accreditation.

“I congratulate the Veterinarians, animal care staff and zoo staff. From education and front office personnel to maintenance, it takes teamwork to meet the rigorous standards of an AZA accredited facility,” said Pierson.

“Fewer than ten percent of the licensed facilities in the U.S. are accredited by AZA and today the Cape May County Zoo receives official certification for the fifth time in its history,” he added.

Cape May County Zoo Director, Hubert Paluch, who has participated in the AZA accreditation process since the first in 1989 said that “accreditation is not a simple thing. It’s not a review process that takes place every five years; it’s our daily work procedure to maintain the highest standards in the industry.”

Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Alexander Ernst, asked the audience to consider the way we consume information in the era of social media. “Those who will adapt and evolve will thrive and that illustrates the importance of AZA accreditation.”

“The Cape May County Zoo adopted the highest standards of animal care and living standards in 1989 and we will continue to use the AZA guidelines as we move toward 2022 and beyond,” he added.

Ernst thanked the Zoo staff and animal care team, “I am proud to have the AZA flag at our zoo’s entrance, but not as proud as I am of the individuals that made it happen.”

Cape May County Park and Zoo is one of only 230 zoos in the nation that is certified by AZA, which is less than ten percent of the total number of eligible licensed animal exhibitors that meets the organization’s high standards to become a member and be permitted to use the AZA logo. Other world class zoos in this category include the Bronx Zoo, San Diego Zoo and Columbus Zoo.

Over the years, the Cape May County Park and Zoo has received many honors including Trip Advisor’s award as the fifth best reviewed zoo in the United States and number 13 in the world coming in ahead of places like London, Beijing and Moscow. In 2017, the zoo has once again received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award thanks in part to the favorable reviews from many visitors.

Zoo photo

Pictured from left:  Ed Runyon, Cape May County Parks Director; Michael Laffey, Director of Operations; Dr. Hubert Paluch, Cape May County Zoo Director; Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA

Zoo 2

Pictured from left:  Ed Runyon, Cape May County Parks Director; Michael Laffey, Director of Operations; Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Alexander Ernst; Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA


The Cape May County Park and Zoo is home to 550 animals, representing rare and endangered species. The zoo opened in 1978; and the county park dates to the late 1940s.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.

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