Bear Habitat the world’s first university facility to earn prestigious AZA accreditation
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) sets the gold standard for zoos and aquariums around the world. The very best — those that take the best care of their animals, that offer the best facilities, that have the best long-term plans, etc. — are AZA-accredited.
Earlier this month, the Baylor Bear Habitat became the first university facility in the world to earn that coveted AZA accreditation. Only about 250 zoos and aquariums worldwide have been deemed worthy of the honor.
Currently home to Joy and Lady, two American black bears, the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat was dedicated at Homecoming in 2005. The bears’ home is maintained and staffed by a team that includes student caregivers from the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, trained professionals, and a veterinary care team.
During an extensive site visit in January, AZA representatives were impressed by the world-class care Joy and Lady receive, specifically noting the animal welfare, veterinary care, educational efforts, facility quality and overall investment by the university.
“Baylor Bear Habitat is the first university mascot facility to achieve the demanding, gold standard AZA accreditation,” said Dan Ashe, the AZA’s president and CEO. “I’ve observed dozens of accreditation hearings, and was impressed at the broad acclimation from commission members. The Baylor team did their homework and passed with flying colors.”
Thousands of visitors stop by the Bear Habitat each year; Joy and Lady look forward to seeing you next time you’re in Waco!
Sic ’em, Bears!