Honolulu Zoo loses national accreditation because of ongoing fun - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu Zoo loses national accreditation because of ongoing funding concerns

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File) (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Honolulu Zoo has lost its national accreditation, a blow to an attraction that's long struggled with funding issues.

The city announced the loss of the zoo's accreditation Tuesday, saying the decision was based on the city's lack of consistent funding.

Guy Kaulukukui, city director of Enterprise Services, which oversees zoo operations, said while the loss of accreditation is a big blow to the zoo, it's not the end of the world.

"Other zoos have faced this dilemma and have survived," he said. "There are certain aspects of the operation that might be a little more difficult, but at this point in time, how difficult I think is difficult to tell."

Honolulu Zoo's accreditation ran through March 2016. Without accreditation, the zoo's ability to bring in new animals and breed animals is limited. 

City Managing Director Roy Amemiya said in addition to financial issues, employee turnover -- including several zoo directors over the last few years -- also contributed to the problem.

The city stressed maintenance and animal care weren't a factor in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums's decision to deny the zoo's re-accreditation.

"In this case, the financials were something that we're not quite up to our standards, for that reason, they had to deny reaccreditation," said Rob Vernon senior vice president of external affairs for AZA.

AZA has encouraged the city to reapply, but said there is a one-year waiting period.

Councilman Trevor Ozawa applauded the work the city has done already to address longstanding problems at the zoo. "It's up to us to help them out to do a better job," he added.

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