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Why Maryland’s Salisbury Zoo lost its national accreditation

SALISBURY — A Maryland zoo recently confirmed that it lost its national accreditation during a standard five-year renewal process.

The Association of Zoos & Aquarium cited the Salisbury Zoo for not meeting certain industry standards during its fall 2019 evaluation, the zoo's Acting Director, Leanora Dillon, told The Salisbury Times this week.

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The zoo's level of deferred maintenance, inadequately maintained buildings and the lack of a full-time veterinarian all contributed to the zoo losing its standing, the newspaper reported.

Representatives didn't share further specifics on where the zoo fell short, but Dillon emphasized that none of the concerns had to do with animal welfare and that zoo is not in danger of losing any animals immediately.

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"Quality of care is fine," Dillon told the newspaper. “The AZA ... definitely have highest standards for a small zoo. Some of those involve very expensive things for us to maintain.”

The zoo must wait one year to reapply for accreditation while making progress toward fixing its citations. In the meantime, the Salisbury Zoo has been told it can maintain the animals it currently holds, such as Andean bears, otters, wallabies, and jaguar, though it may not be permitted to breed them until it’s fully accredited again, the newspaper said.

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