Zoo News is Good News: National Awards For Excellence, Zoo Wins …Again!

By Oregon Zoo StaffSamudra Play

The Oregon Zoo drew praise from colleagues at zoos and aquariums across the continent this fall, earning two prestigious awards from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums — one for conservation work on behalf of imperiled California condors and another recognizing excellence in exhibit design for Elephant Lands. The awards were announced at AZA’s annual conference, held this year in Indianapolis.

“We are deeply honored,” said Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director. “These awards are some of the highest distinctions in the zoo world. They represent the respect of our peers from around the country.”

The Oregon Zoo and its partners in the collaborative California condor recovery project took top honors in the North American Conservation Awards category, which recognizes “exceptional efforts toward regional habitat preservation, species restoration and support of biodiversity.”

The California condor was one of the original animals included on the 1973 Endangered Species Act and is classified as critically endangered. In 1982, only 22 individuals remained in the wild. Condor numbers now total more than 400, with the majority of those flying free.

The zoo also took top honors in the Exhibit Award category for Elephant Lands. The most ambitious project in Oregon Zoo history, Elephant Lands is four times the size of the zoo’s former elephant habitat, accounting for nearly one-tenth of the zoo’s total 64-acre footprint.

Since 2012, the Oregon Zoo has been recognized with nine of the association’s major annual awards: five for conservation work on behalf of endangered species, one for environmental efforts in the zoo’s day-to-day operations, one for excellence in exhibit design and two for marketing excellence.

“Earning that many awards over the span of six years is extraordinary,” said AZA president and CEO Dan Ashe. “Oregonians can be very proud of their zoo — it’s one of the top zoos in the country.”

For more information, visit the Oregon Zoo: www.oregonzoo.org/Co