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Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s International Conservation Center Earns American Humane Certified™ Seal for Exceptional Animal Welfare

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, October 11, 2022American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare practices, today announced that Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s International Conservation Center has earned the American Humane Certified™ seal, demonstrating the exceptional welfare and treatment provided to animals in its care. The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has been an American Humane certified facility since 2016. In the Zoo’s first application to expand its American Humane certification to its additional campus, the International Conservation Center (ICC), located about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh in Somerset, Pennsylvania, has now also passed a rigorous, expert third-party audit. The ICC joins a growing number of leading zoological institutions that have earned the American Humane Certified™ designation.

“All animals, including those being cared for in our zoos, aquariums and conservation parks, are entitled to humane treatment,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “When you see the Humane Certified™ seal of approval, you can rest assured that the facility meets our high standards of animal care. We commend the International Conservation Center for this great achievement – a testament to the hard work, dedication and compassion of its amazing staff and their positive efforts to sustain African elephant populations.”

The Humane Conservation™ program is the first certification effort solely dedicated to helping verify the welfare and demonstrably 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, developed by an independent Scientific Advisory Committee comprised of world-renowned leaders in the fields of animal science, animal behavior and animal ethics. The standards provide verification of good practices at deserving zoos and aquariums, and an assurance to visitors that the institution is worthy of their support.

American Humane’s certification process exhaustively verifies the many dimensions of animal welfare, with areas of evaluation including: excellent health and housing; positive social interactions within groups of animals, as well as between animals and handlers; safe and stimulating environments with concern for factors such as appropriate lighting, sound levels, air quality, and thermoregulation; and, evidence of thorough preparation and protocols established to prevent and manage medical or operational emergencies.

“The Pittsburgh Zoo’s foundational commitment is to provide the highest quality animal care at our facilities and create a future for their counterparts in the wild,” said Dr. Jeremy Goodman, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “As part of our growing accreditation portfolio, earning the American Humane Certified seal for both our Zoo and the ICC is a significant step in showcasing this effort and affirming our practices.”

Located on approximately 1,000 acres in Somerset, Pennsylvania, the ICC is a premier conservation, research, education, breeding and training facility, specializing in the care and breeding of African elephants. Populations of African elephants in the wild have suffered sharp declines because of poaching and habitat destruction, and they are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

The ICC is the only center of its kind with a strong focus on this beautiful and threatened animal and enables the Pittsburgh Zoo to play a leadership role in addressing the needs for breeding the African elephant population in North America. The facility’s highly successful methods of elephant management utilize positive reinforcement and nurturing to develop a strong, trusting relationship between keepers and elephants that is built on mutual respect. In time, the ICC will expand the center’s focus to other species in critical need.

Learn more about Humane Conservation™ at


American Humane is the country’s 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.


The Zoological Society of Pittsburgh owns and operates the International Conservation Center (ICC) and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The Zoo connects people to wildlife, inspiring our communities to conserve nature for future generations.

The Pittsburgh Zoo is one of only six major Zoo and Aquarium combinations in the United States and serves as home to more than 8,000 animals representing over 600 species. As a regional attraction with a global impact and acting as a leader and a significant contributor to the conservation of endangered and threatened species, the Zoo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, earning the Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating. The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is American Humane Conservation-certified, a member of American Humane, and accredited by the Zoological Association of America.

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