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2010.10.18> For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

AZA Grants Certification To University of Nebraska Callitrichid Research Center

Omaha - The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced this month that the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Callitrichid Research Center was granted certification by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. The term ‘Callitrichid’ refers to marmosets and tamarins, squirrel-sized monkeys from South America.

“The Callitrichid Research Center is one of the best in the world because it has met the highest standards in the world,” said Jim Maddy, AZA president and CEO. “It takes hard work and dedication to meet Association of Zoos and Aquariums Standards.”

The Center is the only university-related facility to achieve certification by the AZA. To be certified, the Callitrichid Research Center underwent a thorough investigation to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous review and inspection every five years in order to be members of the Association.

“As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Callitrichid Research Center is a true leader in wildlife conservation,” Maddy added.

Jeffrey French, a UNO professor in the Departments of Psychology and Biology, has directed the facility since 1982.

“We are proud that the AZA recognizes our efforts in conservation and captive breeding for marmoset and tamarin monkeys. These efforts go hand-in-hand with our research on hormones and social behavior,” French said.

The certification process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation in areas such as animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; and other areas. The inspection team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal Commission hearing, after which certification is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the commission’s decision is made.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information about AZA, please visit www.aza.org.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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