Pittsburgh Zoo Nabs New Certification Heralding Animal Facilities

Nov 22, 2016


Two elephants hang out by the water at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium on June 10, 2015.
Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium has received the American Humane Association’s Humane Conservation Program certification, an award doled out to only a handful of animal institutions nationwide.

Independent auditors spent four days this summer evaluating the critters, including their standard of living, physical well-being and a consistently happy report with zookeepers.

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium President Dr. Barbara Baker accepts an award for excellence in animal welfare from American Humane President Dr. Robin Ganzert in Mayor Bill Peduto's office.
Credit Dan Priore / 90.5 WESA

“Of which all of our keepers do, because they really love their animals,” said Tracy Gray, manager of media and public relations for the zoo. 

Gray said the Pittsburgh Zoo is one of the first institutions to add the accolade, which was first established in June.

Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the AHA, said the audit team is made up of experts in animal science, behavior and ethics.

“They watched the animals, they observed behaviors in their environments and they really took a time to understand how that animal was appearing, and really trying to understand how their care was,” Ganzert said.

Pittsburgh Zoo President and CEO Barbara Baker said the fact that the auditors have previous zoo experience is important.

“They are able to come in and really take a critical eye at us,” she said.

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium also has accreditation through the Zoological Association of America and the USDA.