Tanganyika Wildlife Park Logo


Tuesday, August 29 2017 10:19 AM
By Matt Fouts

You know, existing, as a private zoo in America is very similar to existing as an animal in the wild, everyday brings new challenges to your very existence. For animals it’s the fear of predators, competitors, habitat destruction, drought, inclement weather, injury or illness. For a private zoological park such as Tanganyika it’s the threat of elimination through unfair competition, mischaracterizations and lies from animal rights organization and competing trade organizations, along with out of control local, state and federal governments all of which profess to know more about your business than you do.


Since Tanganyika was created in 2007 we have been under assault in some fashion. In the beginning we were constantly criticized by our primary local competitor who thought we should be held to standards they themselves couldn’t meet. Then we, along with all ZAA (Zoological Association of America) accredited zoos, have been labeled “roadside zoos” by AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) since we are not accredited members of their organization. We chose not to be members of AZA, an organization of mostly anti-private government zoos who has been the only industry trade organization for years and now they’re unhappy that ZAA is a thriving, competing organization that is gaining in stature.


To make matters worse, AZA recently formed an alliance with HSUS (Humane Society of the United States – more information about HSUS can be found at www.humanewatch.org) over the objections of many of their members, I might add, in an effort to stave off the attacks by HSUS on AZA zoos. HSUS by their own admission is committed to the elimination of all zoos, believing that animals are better off dead than in zoos. This unholy alliance is now focusing its attention on the destruction of ZAA accredited facilities, like Tanganyika and others through mischaracterizations and outright lies regarding animal welfare within our institutions.


At Tanganyika Wildlife Park we have always put the welfare of our animals as our number one priority, giving them the very best care possible. We strive to provide our animals with the best nutrition, housing, social conditions, and veterinary care available. And, we constantly strive to improve our craft.   At Tanganyika we are constantly evolving, learning and striving to do better for the animals in our care each and every day, but needed a way to validate our efforts.


So, when we were introduced to American Humane certification, which is the center-piece of their worldwide American Humane Conservation Program we were intrigued. AHA is not only the oldest humane organization in the country that began in 1877, but an organization that is truly committed to the welfare of animals rather than their elimination from our daily lives. AHA understands the important role zoos play in our society promoting awareness and wildlife conservation, believing we can do so while providing for the best possible welfare of our animals. In reviewing the program we felt it was an excellent fit for Tanganyika, offering us an opportunity to measure and validate the high level of care we currently provide, and would enhance our credibility as a world class facility. We also believed, pass or fail, it would highlight those areas where we might improve our care and management.


It began with a lengthy application process and weeks of preparation, next a rigorous three day audit conducted by independent auditors specializing in the species housed at Tanganyika, all followed by the final analysis of the data collected. Several weeks later we were informed of our success in passing the audit.


This milestone could not have been achieved without our dedicated, hard working team who strive to provide the best possible care for the animals in their charge each and every day. This certification validates those efforts and proves that you don’t have to be a government operated facility with a huge budget to provide the best level of care for your animals. To our entire team, and particularly our animal care team, I offer our sincerest thanks and congratulations on a job well done.


We are honored and proud that Tanganyika Wildlife Park is only the tenth zoological facility in the United States to earn the Human Certified™ certification from American Humane.


Jim Fouts


Tanganyika Wildlife Park

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