Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, will visit the Tennessee Aquarium on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in recognition of more than a quarter-century of continuous AZA Accreditation.
"To be accredited, the Tennessee Aquarium underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety," officials said. "AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.
"The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals.
The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made."
A lifelong animal conservationist, Dan Ashe joined AZA in January 2017 after serving as the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for nearly six years, leading the agency and its thousands of employees. Following a 13-year career as a professional staff member of the former Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Ashe held positions of increasing responsibility at the Service. They include assistant director for external affairs, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, science advisor to the director and deputy director.
Mr. Ashe is a voice for conservation efforts and protection/restoration of threatened and endangered species.