Earlier this week, officials met with executive members to discuss the city’s application for re-accreditation. AZA officials said they were pleased with the zoo’s direction in maintenance and animal care. But the request was denied after concerns were raised over adequate funding from the city on a consistent basis. Officials encouraged Honolulu to re-apply for accreditation when funding issues have been addressed by both the city and its community partners.
The 42 acre zoo currently has an operating budget of $5.6-million and employs 76 people. For the 2017 fiscal year, which begins on July 1st, Mayor Kirk Caldwell is proposing a $6.8-million dollar operating budget and an increase to 86 employee positions.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is the largest and most comprehensive zoo accreditation body in the US. Out of the 24,000 facilities accredited by the USDA- only 10% are AZA certified. Rob Vernon is the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the AZA.
There is a one year waiting period before Honolulu can re-apply for AZA accreditation.