Home / Newsroom / Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds Achieve the American Humane Certified™ Distinction for Animal Safety, Welfare and Well-being

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds Achieve the American Humane Certified™ Distinction for Animal Safety, Welfare and Well-being

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, October 6, 2023American Humane, the United States’ first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare practices, announced today that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds both earned the distinction of American Humane Certified™ for the excellent treatment of animals. The Wilds is managed by the Columbus Zoo but is located 90 minutes east of Columbus.

“We are thrilled that Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds have met the standards to become American Humane Certified,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane. “The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds give visitors a unique up-close opportunity to experience the wonders of nature from the land and the sea helping to inspire the next generation of conservationists. This certification provides American Humane with the opportunity to recognize the extensive reach of the animal welfare movement at zoos, aquariums, and conservation parks around the world.”

Rigorous Certification Standards:

To be recognized as American Humane Certified™ the Zoo and The Wilds passed a rigorous independent assessment, which reviewed the well-being of animals in their care. The unique process is guided by the latest science and is informed by respected veterinarians and experts in the fields of animal welfare, animal science, zoology, and ethics who have decades of experience in protecting animals.

The independent validation process—which goes above and beyond to help protect animals—provides visitors with the confidence the institution is meeting a high benchmark of care. The process includes a pre-audit application period that is followed up by an onsite audit that assesses animal welfare. Factors considered during the audit include, but are not limited to, housing, food, water, lighting, shade, sound, activity levels, and the training of staff who are interacting with the animals. The benchmarks are species specific.

“We are pleased to have earned certification from American Humane, which further solidifies the reputation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds as among the best institutions for wildlife care and wellbeing, conservation, and education,” said Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds. “We welcome the rigorous evaluations of accrediting bodies as they continually push us to improve and exceed the highest standards. Our entire zoological community must unite in safeguarding our profession and upholding the highest best practices. Meeting or surpassing accreditation standards enhances the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds. It reinforces our unwavering commitment to empower people and save wildlife,” said Schmid.

The American Humane Certified™ program is the first certification effort solely dedicated to helping verify the welfare and humane treatment of animals living in zoos, aquariums, and conservation centers across the globe. The program enforces rigorous, science-based, and comprehensive criteria for animal welfare, reviewed by an independent Scientific Advisory Committee comprised of world-renowned leaders in the fields of animal science, animal behavior, and animal ethics. The audit helps to verify good practices at deserving zoos and aquariums and offer increased assurance to visitors that the institution they are visiting is worthy of their support.


About the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species worldwide, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads by making a positive impact on people, wildlife and wild places. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Club. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also manages The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a wildlife conservation organization with regional, national and global impact, annually supporting conservation and research projects locally and worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating.

Media Contact: Jen Fields, [email protected]

About The Wilds

The Wilds sits on almost 10,000 acres of lush landscapes along the Appalachian Byway and attracts nearly 120,000 visitors annually. With the mission of Empowering People. Saving Wildlife. The Wilds is among one of the largest, cutting-edge conservation centers in North America and is home to more than 500 animals representing 28 rare and endangered species from around the world. The Wilds operates tours, overnight accommodations, special events, and summer camps as a source of revenue. The Wilds is located at 14000 International Road in Cumberland, Ohio, about 90 minutes east of Columbus. Normal hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day from May through October. For more information, visit 

About American Humane

American Humane is the United States’ first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare, overseeing the humane treatment of more than one billion animals across the globe each year. Founded in 1877, American Humane has been First to Serve™ the cause of animals and for 145 years has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in the humane movement. For more information or to support our lifesaving work, please visit, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and subscribe to our channel on YouTube for the latest breaking news and features about the animals with whom we share our Earth.

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