The international trend on competency evaluation of organizations in all industries has been via the use of accreditation systems or a certification of management systems.    

It has been identified globally that zoos and aquariums also require this evaluation of their efficiency and competence. Within the ISO Standards there is such an evaluation framework being ISO19011, however, every industry has its own specific requirements in speciality; the zoo and aquarium industry is no different. In recent years there have been many developments in the biological and zoological fields as well as enormous advancements in animal welfare, care techniques and knowledge that have not only necessitated this evaluation, but guided the process globally. This evaluation should be carried out against an industry specific set of criteria based on best practice and welfare for wild animals in human care and be comparable across continents.

This implementation and compliance with the set criteria, should provide a mechanism for promoting confidence in a zoo or aquarium that can show it operates in accordance with global requirements of best practice (‘best practice’ encompasses all aspects relating to animals in human care).

Engagement with the evaluation process will facilitate co-operation between various zoos and aquariums and other bodies, to assist in the exchange of information and experience, and in the harmonization of standards and procedures.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has established a 2023 goal for animal welfare evaluation which will be implemented through its regional and national associations. To meet this requirement, PAAZA combined its two previous evaluation systems, ‘Operational Standard’ and ‘Accreditation’, into the new ‘Operational Accreditation’ model which was ratified for implementation at the May 2019 AGM.

The Operational Accreditation evaluation model is focused on animal welfare and encompasses the Five Domains model as well as regional specific legislative requirements.

You may download the Operational Accreditation manual , Five Domains Model , Poster , Infographic here.


The changing landscape - embracing the 'New Normal'

Although the pandemic has re-arranged what was ‘normal’, the ‘Wildlife In a Controlled Environment’ sub-sector still has to maintain top class animal welfare and comply with Operational Accreditation and to meet the WAZA 2023 goal.

To further assist facilities economically and to ensure that standards are met and maintained, PAAZA has converted the Operational Accreditation to an online platform.

The online system does NOT differ in content from the Operational Accreditation process as ratified at the 29th AGM of PAAZAIt is merely the implementation.


ALL PAAZA member facilities will have to undergo the new 'Operational Accreditation' evaluation by 31 December 2023.

The PAAZA Executive office will be engaging with every facility individually with the WAZA members being the first candidates.


Operationally Accredited Members - meeting the WAZA 2023 Welfare goal


Pafos Zoo Pafos Zoo


SAAMBR  South African Association of Marine Biological Research - SAAMBR


Cango Cango Wildlife Ranch


JhbZoo April 2013Johannesburg Zoo 


Accredited Members under the previous / original Accreditation standard


NZG.jpg National Zoological Gardens of South Africa - NZG


Lory Park Lory Park Zoo & Owl Sanctuary

Butterfly World Butterfly World and Tropical Garden

 Montecasino Montecasino Bird Gardens


 Operationally Compliant Members under the previous / original Operational standard 

TOA 2 Two Oceans Aquarium

EL Aquarium East London Aquarium

Bayworld logo Bayworld (PE Museam)

Cheetah Outreach Cheetah Outreach


URBP logo Full Umgeni River Bird Park

UWEC Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre

WoB World of Birds


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