American Zoo and Aquarium
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accredited Institution. AZA-Accredited Institutions represent zoological parks or aquariums that maintain both a professional staff and a more-than-token collection of wildlife, providing the collection with appropriate care, exhibiting them in an aesthetic manner on a regularly scheduled, predictable basis. Institutional Members have as their primary business the exhibition, conservation, and preservation of the earth’s fauna in an educational and scientific manner. All zoos and aquariums must be accredited to become members of AZA. This involves undergoing a thorough review that includes a detailed accreditation application as well as a multiple-day on-site inspection by a team of experts from around the country.
Saving Endangered Species: AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are leaders in the protection of endangered species. Twenty years ago, AZA established the Species Survival Plan Program™ (SSP), which is a long-term plan involving conservation breeding, habitat preservation, public education, field conservation, and supportive research to ensure survival for many of the planet’s threatened and endangered species.
How Does AZA Accreditation Work?
Selecting the experts: AZA carefully selects the expert Accreditation Commission members who evaluate each zoo and aquarium. These experts are leaders in their fields and have many years of experience and education in zoo and aquarium operations, animal management, and veterinary medicine.
What Is Evaluated?
The Accreditation Commission evaluates every zoo or aquarium to make sure it meets AZA’s standards for animal management and care, including environments, social groupings, health, and nutrition. They also make sure that animals are provided with enrichment, which stimulates each animal’s natural behavior and provides variety in their daily routine.
The Accreditation Commission also evaluates the veterinary program, involvement in conservation and research, education programs, safety policies and procedures, security, physical facilities, guest services, and the quality of the institution’s staff. And because a zoo or aquarium needs a strong foundation in order to continue to meet high standards, accreditation also evaluates each institution’s finances, its governing authority, and its support organization. In other words, they look at everything!
Conservation Centers for Species Survival
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is a member of Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), a group of large conservation facilities in North America dedicated to cooperative conservation and research for the advancement of species conservation. Established in 2005, C2S2 applies its unique resources for the survival of species with special needs; especially those requiring large living areas, natural group sizes, minimal public disturbance and scientific research. Part of its current priorities is the study and development of sustainable populations of various ungulates, birds, carnivores and the desert tortoise. Additionally, C2S2 explores unique, alternative ways to manage small populations through groups or big herds as well as to improve the stewardship of its more than 25,000 acres of land. C2S2 has a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The International Rhino Foundation was founded in 1989 (our late owner, Jim Jackson, was a founding member) as the International Black Rhino Foundation. Originally, the IBRF was formed to assist in the conservation of black rhinos in Zimbabwe, both through efforts in the wild and in zoos. Then in 1993, they broadened their conservation efforts to include all five species of rhinos and became the International Rhino Foundation as a result. Mr. Jackson remained active in the organization, retiring from the board of directors in 2008. Since that time, our executive director, Dr. Condy has been a member of their board.
The IRF web site states, “The IRF is involved in programs both in nature and in captivity, both of which IRF believes are critical for the survival of rhinos. The IRF focuses on the species most in need of, and most appropriate for, intensive protection and management. IRF focuses its projects where conservation will have its most significant impact, and when possible, is a catalyst and facilitator rather than a primary implementer. Additionally, the IRF provides linkages between captive and wild populations of rhinos, with the ultimate objective of helping captive populations become truly viable and hence an integral part of conservation strategies for rhinos.”
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is proud to be a affiliated with the International Rhino Foundation, and to help in our shared mission of species conservation. To learn more about this great organization, click here.
Zoological Association of America
Fossil Rim is also an accredited member of the Zoological Association of America (ZAA). It was last accredited in 2010 and is due for re-accreditation in 2015. The ZAA promotes responsible conservation, preservation and propagation of animals in both private and public domains.
For more information about the ZAA click here.
Exotic Wildlife Association
For more information about the EWA click here.
Texas Green Chamber of Commerce
The Texas Green Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) organization founded in 2010 by individuals who recognized both the need for the United States to protect and improve the environment, and the need to bolster the “green” economy. Due to a number of factors, such as increased urbanization, rapid population growth and ecological diversity, Texas especially faces many challenges in creating a healthy environment for people, animals and plant life. There also exists a tremendous opportunity to expand the green industry in Texas into a major economic engine for driving the creation of quality jobs and sustainable tax bases. Furthermore, there is an opportunity for businesses to improve their profitability and help protect the environment through the adoption of sustainable business practices.
For more information about The Texas Green Chamber of Commerce click here.
United States Department of Agriculture
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Animal Welfare Act, under which Fossil Rim is required to renew annually its license to keep exotic wildlife on its property. This entails at least one unannounced inspection a year by an APHIS inspector.
For more on APHIS and the Animal Welfare Act click here.