AZA orders "progress check" for Chattanooga Zoo accreditation

AZA orders "progress check" for Chattanooga Zoo accreditation

March 20th, 2011 by The Commercial Appeal in Local - Breaking News

The gate at the Chattanooga Zoo features zoo animals.

Chattanooga Zoo officials on Sunday morning announced that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will have "a progress recheck" in September, and meanwhile continues as an accredited organization.

"The AZA inspectors found no medical or management connection between six of eight deaths," that occurred over about a month and a half at the zoo during the holiday period, according to Robin Derryberry, zoo spokeswoman and a Friends of the Zoo board member.

The Friends of the zoo took over operation of the zoo from Chattanooga in the fall.

"Based on their observations, they found that two tortoise deaths appeared to come from substandard winter housing which has now been corrected. It was noted that the deaths of the marmosets [a type of monkey] came from significant liver disease and weight loss that originated or predated the administrative error which caused the animals to go unfed for two days in January. The remaining four deaths were found to be an unfortunate series of unrelated events," Derryberry said in a prepared release.

She added that inspectors noted they were "concerned that the Zoo needs to "...immediately finish a new tortoise exhibit and holding building by next winter to allow the tortoises to have improved winter housing."