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Does the Sacramento Zoo have to move to keep its accreditation? | VERIFY

If the Sacramento Zoo stays in Land Park, officials say they'll do whatever it takes - even lose more animals, to be able to improve and maintain accreditation.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The topic of the Sacramento Zoo leaving Land Park isn't new, but whether or not the 14.7-acre organization could lose accreditation came up when zoo officials said its outdated enclosures would need to expand to meet modern standards set by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums [AZA].

THE QUESTION: Does the Sacramento Zoo have to move to maintain its accreditation?

ANSWER: No, the Sacramento Zoo told ABC10 that it is not willing to lose accreditation by the AZA. 

"If we're not going to be held to the highest standards, then we shouldn't have a zoo," Sacramento Zoo Director Jason Jacobs told ABC10.  

However, in order to maintain AZA standards, the zoo may continue to lose larger animals as they work to expand existing habitats.



The Sacramento Zoo occupies 14.7 acres in Land Park. Bordered by two churches, a neighborhood and ample recreation...there's no room to grow. 

The zoo's accreditation was last up for review in November 2017, with the final findings by the AZA unveiled in March of 2018. Though the zoo was accredited through 2023, the Accreditation Committee felt that many of the facilities would need significant renovation or replacement in the future. 

"...the zoo’s 2018 Accreditation Report indicated that many of the zoo’s older exhibits do not represent modern zoological practices," the zoo said on a web page devoted to making their accreditation transparent to the public. "Areas require major renovation or replacement if they are to keep up with modern facilities and AZA standards." To read the full, detailed report, click here. 

While the idea to move may seem new, Jacobs said the non-profit has been considering a new location for more than 30 years. 

"It's gonna be somewhere between $100 and $150 million to open the first phase of a new zoo...it's a big project," Jacobs said. "But we do know to renovate (the current) site is going to be $128 million...and you know what's gonna happen when you renovate this site? You're still gonna get a half million visitors a year. And you're gonna lose animals that you have now."




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