Make us your home page

After improvements, Lowry Park Zoo to stay accredited

TAMPA — The reputation of Lowry Park Zoo suffered a blow last year when an accrediting agency gave it a year to improve its facilities.

On Monday, the Lowry Park Zoological Society board of trustees announced the zoo is succeeding in renovations and has re-earned accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

The stamp is a major seal of approval. Fewer than 10 percent of the 2,400 zoos and animal exhibitors licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture around the country are accredited by the association.

Lowry Park was accredited by the association for years but ran into trouble in March 2010 when the association gave the zoo a year to improve its older facilities.

Among the changes the association wanted to see were improvements to the veterinary hospital, manatee hospital and boardwalk area, as well as more educational signs interpreting conservation for kids. The association had no concerns about animal or visitor safety.

The zoo was allowed to remain accredited while it made those improvements.

In the past year, the Lowry Park Zoological Society launched a $10 million campaign to raise money for improvements to address the concerns. More than half of the campaign goal has been pledged so far, zoo officials said in a statement.

The zoo is in the design and development phase for a veterinary hospital and a conservation and animal science complex. Renovations also are under way at the zoo's Lykes Florida Wildlife Center and boardwalk.

The steps were enough to persuade the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to recertify the zoo.

"It means a great deal that our AZA colleagues support and recognize the extraordinary effort of zoo staff and volunteers to meet and exceed the highest industry standards," said Craig Pugh, executive director and CEO of the zoo, in a statement.

The facilities the nonprofit organization endorses undergo a review every five years that includes a detailed written application, as well as on-site inspections. Lowry Park Zoo was first accredited in 1989.

After improvements, Lowry Park Zoo to stay accredited 03/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2011 10:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.