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Hearing To Begin On Columbus Zoo Accreditation Appeal

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium entrance sign
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
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The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is set to consider an appeal from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which lost its accreditation earlier this year.

There are three possible outcomes to Monday's hearing.

The AZA could uphold the denial, in which case the zoo would reapply for accreditation in the fall of next year.

Alternatively, the board could table the zoo's accreditation, meaning the zoo would have to meet specific conditions at a one year follow-up inspection. The zoo would remain accredited while tabled.

In option three, the AZA would move to grant full accreditation.

The AZA stripped the zoo of its main accreditation in early October, amid scandals that included the misappropriation of funds and resources by former zoo management, and accusations that former zoo director Jack Hannah had inappropriate ties to the big cat trade.

An FAQ on the zoo's website states "The Zoo’s new leadership has made extensive changes to address these concerns and is committed to fostering an environment that is mission-driven and places the welfare of animals first always."

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.