American Association of Zoo Keepers
|Focus||To encourage animal keepers to become active members of the professional teams at today’s zoos and aquariums, and support the promotion and implementation of zoo keeper education.|
The American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc. is a U.S. 501c(3) non-profit volunteer association which provides resources to animal care workers, whether they be volunteers or professionals, for training, professional development, and conservation. It does this through publications, conferences, chapter activities, and online resources.
The American Association of Zoo Keepers was first organized in San Diego in 1967 to promote professionalism in zookeeping by educating zoo staff in the latest techniques of animal care at zoos and aquariums.
Members include institutions and zoo professionals at all levels from directors down to volunteers and students. By 2010, the AAZK had about 2800 members in 48 U.S. states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 24 other countries. In 2008, Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) President and CEO Jim Maddy claimed that animal care workers in the approximately 200 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums were caring for over 700,000 animals.
AAZK encourages animal keepers to become active members of the professional teams at today’s zoos and aquariums, and supports the promotion and implementation of zoo keeper education. It also promotes public awareness of the need for preservation of our natural resources and animal life.
Communication and education
AAZK publishes the monthly Animal Keepers’ Forum, as well as AAZK National Conference Proceedings, Zoo and Aquarium Professionals, and The Resource for Crisis Management in Zoos and Other Animal Care Facilities.
Other educational opportunities provided by the AAZK to include conferences and chapter activities at local zoos, which let keepers exchange ideas and discuss new methods of care, behavioral observations, and other information.
AAZK committees are intended to help promote AAZK and the Zoo Keepers’ role in conservation education. Standing committees include committees for conferences, awards, behavioral husbandry, bylaws, conservation, ethics, grants, membership, and professional development.
The AAZK also raises funds for conservations efforts. Its biggest fundraiser is its annual "Bowling for Rhinos," with about 100 participating chapters, which has raised over $3 million since 1990 for rhino conservation. Beneficiaries of the fundraiser include the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya and the Ujung Kulon, Bukit Barisan Selatan, and Way Kambas national parks in Indonesia. Funds used to protect rhino habitats are also beneficial to other species including elephants, cheetahs, Grevy’s zebras, Malayan tigers, sun bears, and tapirs, and Javan gibbons.
- "History of AAZK". aazk.org. AAZK. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Celebrating our Aquarists!". ncaquarium.blogspot.com. North Carolina Aquariums. 21 July 2008. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Committees". aazk.org. AAZK. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Bowling for Rhinos". dallaszoo.com. Dallas Zoo. Retrieved 7 July 2010.