Providing a Safe and Caring Environment for Exotic Animals


AZA Certified

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced in March that the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary was again granted certification as a related facility by AZA's independent Accreditation Commission.

"Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet tough Association of Zoos and Aquariums standards," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "The leadership and staff of the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary are to be congratulated for the hard work and commitment that they put into the process to become certified."

To be certified as a related facility, the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary underwent a thorough investigation to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, and safety. AZA requires zoos, aquariums, and related facilities to successfully complete this rigorous process in order to be members of the association and are required to resubmit to this process every five years.

"Not only does International Exotic Feline Sanctuary meet or exceed AZA's high standards, but it provides every visitor with a chance to connect to global wildlife conservation," Maddy added. "Related facility members share the same strong commitment to animal care, professionalism, ethics, and conservation that AZA accredited institutions hold. In turn, they enrich the lives of their communities by developing significant wildlife conservation programs."

The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review. The certification process for related facilities includes a detailed application and meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the facility's operation in areas such as animal care (including living environment and daily enrichment), keeper training, safety for animals and staff, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management, and other areas. The inspection team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal commission hearing, after which certification is either granted, tabled, or denied. Any facility that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission's decision is made.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit


Please contact Richard Gilbreth at International Exotic Feline Sanctuary at 940-433-5091 for additional information about the facility, including special events and activities for visitors and its ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation and science.