Zoo and Aquarium Association

Who is the Zoo and Aquarium Asssociation (ZAA)?

Zoo and Aquarium Association or “ZAA” represent the collective voice of the zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries and wildlife parks across Australasia that operate to the highest standards. As the peak industry body, ZAA is involved in breeding programs in support of conservation and community education as well as actively contributing to threatened species recovery around the world. As an association, ZAA brings its members together, facilitating shared knowledge and continuous improvement in conservation, welfare, biosecurity, science, research, social and community programs.

Watch this short video about ZAA here.

ZAA Accreditation: Animal welfare

Alexandra Park Zoo is accredited under the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia’s (ZAA) Five Domains Model, demonstrating our commitment to positive animal welfare. Read more about the accreditation process, what it involves and how accreditation works. 


What is ZAA Accreditation?

Accreditation is “certification of competence in a specified subject or areas of expertise, and the integrity of an organisation, awarded by a duly recognised and respected accrediting organisation.” The ZAA Accreditation program is an assessment of a zoo or aquarium’s commitment and achievements towards positive animal welfare. It requires ZAA member zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks and sanctuaries to think deeply about the welfare of the animals in their care and strive for continuous improvement. Zoos and aquariums are assessed using the progressive and science based Five Domains Model. This approach champions welfare from the animal’s perspective and it underpins all that we do.


What is the "Five Domains"?

The Five Domains Model is a science-based structure for assessing animal welfare, which recognises that animals can experience feelings, ranging from negative to positive. The first four domains (nutrition, environment, health and behaviour) all help inform us about the animal’s various experiences, which make up the mental Domain – the fifth domain. The Five Domains Model was developed by Professor David Mellor, an international-recognised animal welfare expert and Founder of the Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre during his time at Massey University.

Find out more about the Five Domains in this short video.


How does ZAA accredit zoos and aquariums?

The ZAA Accreditation program is evidence-based, and zoos and aquariums must provide compelling evidence for set criteria on both their operations and the experience of their animals. This evidence is reviewed by ZAA, before an expert Accreditation Officer visits the site in-person to validate the findings. Accreditation reports are then presented to the Standards and Accreditation Committee with approval endorsed by the Board before accreditation is granted. Zoos and aquariums must be assessed every three years to retain their accreditation status. International members are assessed yearly.


Why does ZAA accredit zoos and aquariums?

It is the vision of ZAA to champion welfare from the animal’s perspective. The accreditation program requires zoos and aquariums to think deeply about the welfare of the animals in their care and strive for continuous improvement. As a member of ZAA we are already committed to supporting good welfare at Alexandra Park Zoo, ZAA reviews this evidence against set requirements and confirms validation.


How can I tell if a zoo or aquarium is accredited by ZAA?

You can check the ZAA website for a full and up to date list of ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums in the Australasia region. Alternatively, look out for the ZAA-accredited logo. You can look for the logo on member zoo and aquarium websites, advertisements and at the gates of any zoo or aquarium you visit. You can find the ZAA logo on the “Visit Alexandra Park Zoo” webpage.


How often must an organisation be accredited?

ZAA member organisations, including Alexandra Park Zoo, need to undertake accreditation assessment every three years.