- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The National Zoo was granted a full five-year accreditation from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association yesterday.

Zoo officials said the accreditation meant the facility had met or exceeded the association’s standards, including operations, management and animal care.

The zoo had been operating under a provisional accreditation for the past year. When the association decided not to renew the zoo’s accreditation last March for the usual five-year term, it cited concerns about crumbling buildings, insufficient funds and the relative inexperience of zoo director Dr. Lucy Spelman.

Dr. Spelman was head veterinarian when she was tapped about three years ago to run the 114-year-old zoo in Northwest.



Dr. Spelman announced her resignation last month, saying the attention focused on her had become a distraction for the zoo and the Smithsonian, which operates the facility. Her resignation is to take effect by year’s end.

She resigned after the release of an interim report by the National Academies’ National Research Council, which is in the midst of a yearlong review requested by Congress. The review panel found deficiencies in care and management at the zoo, after several animal deaths in recent years, and members warned the animals’ well-being is threatened.

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