THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAZA

The California Association of Zoos and Aquariums began in 1986 and was incorporated as a 501(C)6 non-profit organization in 1992. Collectively, the 21 voting member zoos and aquariums are hosts to over 20 million visitors each year and serve more than 500,000 households of devoted and loyal zoo and aquarium members.

Some 20 years ago, California zoos felt their missions of conservation, family entertainment and species preservation were jeopardized by proposed legislation. They convened to respond to this legislation, but, after resolution of the legislative issues, the loose-knit California Association of Zoos faded from existence.

When controversial legislation was again introduced, CAZA became a reality as an informal organization. This group, which for the first time included participation from the aquarium community, worked to inform legislators about the issues at hand.

In 1992, CAZA was incorporated as a business league to speak out collectively on statewide issues that impact the zoo and aquarium professions and develop a proactive stance in the legislative and regulatory arenas.

As it continues to develop, CAZA concentrates on a variety of issues. It has worked for an increase in trust and respect for the zoo and aquarium professions among state leaders. In addition to tracking legislation and expanding professional zoological opinions, CAZA members promote zoos and aquariums statewide, work closely as an organization with Fish and Game officials, explore collaboration in regional conservation efforts, and share information regarding state funding for facilities and programs.

Today, the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a model for collaborative efforts in other states. CAZA and its member institutions are recognized as a valuable resource for informed, educated, and experienced input on issues relating to animal and habitat management.

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