GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Wildlife Images Rehabilitation & Education Center is excited to announce it has earned an accreditation from one of the premier zoological associations in the United States.
After a year-long process, the board of the Zoological Association of America has approved Wildlife Images and welcomes it into a community of more than 60 member facilities across the country that show a dedication to the highest standards of animal care as well as public and staff safety. The accreditation is valid for five years.
“This is a major milestone for Wildlife Images,” said Ann Rusk, operations director at Wildlife Images. “We take great pride in the care we give to our animals, both our permanent residents and those brought in for rehabilitation. This accreditation substantiates our commitment to higher standards of animal care, welfare, safety, and staff training, and we couldn’t be more excited to join the ZAA family.”
Wildlife Images has consistently earned top marks from the US Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the US Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, but joining ZAA is another measure to show the public the standard of care at Wildlife Images is first-rate.
“Becoming an accredited facility allows us to demonstrate the integrity and genuine nature of our mission,” Rusk said. “It allows us to demonstrate to the public, our community, and the zoo and wildlife network as a whole that we are dedicated to improving the profession and strive to meet and exceed industry standards.”
ZAA’s standards and practices go beyond mirroring existing federal requirements. Some of the areas evaluated during the accreditation process include animal care and husbandry, veterinary care, nutrition, enrichment, security and safety, facility aesthetics and maintenance, record keeping, and a thorough review of policies, procedures, and protocols.
To achieve accreditation, a facility must receive letters of support from two existing ZAA members and undergo a series of reviews before the full board will consider the application. This process includes a thorough on-site review of the facility.
Wildlife Images works closely with the USDA, US Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Bureau of Land Management. This accreditation improves our standing with all of those organizations.
“The state and federal government agencies that oversee our facility view accredited facilities differently from a permit and oversight level and this will make ambassador animal acquisitions and transfers a more stream-lined process,” Rusk said. “Our staff and volunteers are excited for this opportunity and eager to see how it will change Wildlife Images for the better.”
Wildlife Images is the second facility in Oregon to achieve ZAA accreditation, joining Wildlife Safari in Winston. There is one ZAA facility in Washington, the Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, and there are five facilities in California. The Fort Worth Zoo – named the top zoo in North America by USA Today in 2020 – is also a proud ZAA member facility.
ZAA: Formed in 2005 from the merger of the International Society of Zooculturists and the United Zoological Association, this membership-led organization is dedicated to responsible wildlife management, conservation, and education. For more information, visit www.zaa.org.
About Wildlife Images Rehabilitation & Education Center (WIREC): Renowned wildlife rehabilitator J. David Siddon founded Wildlife Images in 1981 as a non-profit in order to provide for the care and treatment of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. Over the years the facility has grown to now include a wide range of educational programs. Along with a dedicated staff, Dave Siddon Jr. carries on his father’s mission. On average, Wildlife Images takes in more than 1,200 animals each year for rehabilitation. These animals are often released back into the wild and Wildlife Images Members get special invitations to attend these awe inspiring events. WIREC is also currently home to more than 100 resident animals, many of which can be seen while visiting. You can also learn more about the vital work our Animal Clinic staff does, schedule a tour, or learn how to donate to Wildlife Images by visiting our website.