The Association of Zoos & Aquariums has once again granted accreditation from its independent accreditation commission to BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo.

The accreditation places the Baton Rouge Zoo among the top 10 percent of zoos in the nation, according to a BREC news release.

“Our accreditation is another indicator that we’re achieving our mission of connecting people with animals,” Zoo Director Phil Frost said in the release. “This significant achievement comes after the AZA rigorously reviews all aspects of our zoo, including animal care, conservation, education, safety, physical facilities, staff, finance and guest experience. “

Accreditation requires a thorough review to ensure the zoo has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, including animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety. Zoos and aquariums must undergo this process every five years to remain accredited.

The Baton Rouge Zoo was first accredited in September 1977, the same year as the San Francisco Zoo and St. Louis Zoo, making Baton Rouge Zoo the 19th institution accredited by AZA.

BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo also was the first zoo to be accredited in Louisiana. Other accredited zoos in the state include the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, accredited in 1981 and the Alexandria Zoo, accredited in 1986. The USDA licenses more than 2,500 zoo and animal exhibitors. As of March, there are only 225 AZA-accredited institutions.