AZA Grants Certification to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Hohenwald, Tennessee (September 18, 2017) —

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee was granted certification by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums certifies only aquariums and zoos that meet our demanding accreditation standards, which are universally recognized as the ‘gold-standard’ in our profession,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “By achieving AZA-certification, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee demonstrates that it is committed to exemplary animal care and welfare, educational and inspiring guest experiences, and AZA’s mission to conserve our world’s wild animals and wild places.”

To be certified, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee submitted a detailed application and underwent a thorough investigation and on-site inspection by a team of AZA officials to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, and safety. The inspecting team observed all aspects of the institution’s operation and animal care. Final approval of accreditation/certification was granted after a formal meeting of the AZA’s accreditation commission. AZA requires Certified Related Facilities to successfully complete this rigorous review and inspection every five years in order to be members of the Association.

The certification program is intended for facilities that hold wildlife, but do not meet the definition of a zoological park or aquarium. In addition to not being open to the public on a regular basis, Related Facilities seeking certification typically have slight differences in mission and scope from zoological parks or aquariums. However, Certified Related Facilities must have conservation as part of their mission, and the overall mission must be aligned with AZA’s.

Through certification by the AZA, The Elephant Sanctuary hopes for expanded conversation and collaboration opportunities with other elephant care professionals to promote and share best practices on issues of conservation and welfare impacting all elephants.

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation 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. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

About The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Located 85 miles southwest of Nashville in Hohenwald, Tenn., The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee provides elephants retired from performance and exhibition with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being. The Sanctuary also works to raise public awareness of the complex needs of elephants in captivity, and the crisis facing elephants in the wild. The elephants’ habitats are closed to the public. The Elephant Discovery Center is The Sanctuary’s educational center with exhibits focused on elephants’ role as a keystone species. For more information, visit or call (931) 796-6500. The Elephant Discovery Center is located at 27 E Main St, Hohenwald, TN 38462.


Please contact Kate Mason at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee at for additional information about the facility, including special events and activities for visitors and its ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation and science education.

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