Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Announces Annual Achievement Awards Recipients

OTTAWA, October 16, 2017 – Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) recognized the achievements of five member facilities in the fields of conservation, exhibit design, educational programming,  professional development, and volunteer engagement during the annual CAZA conference this September in Ottawa.

“We are proud to recognize leaders in the Canadian accredited zoological community for their outstanding achievements,” said CAZA Executive Director, Susan Shafer. “Their successes embody the spirit of CAZA accreditation– advancing research and the practical application of animal welfare; conservation; and creating awareness about wildlife preservation which inspires change.”

The 2017 Achievement Awards Recipients are as follows:

Thomas R. Baines Award – The Baines Award is the highest recognition of achievement granted by CAZA to member institutions for exhibit design, animal husbandry, education, or for other significant contributions to the zoo and aquarium field. This year the award was granted to the Toronto Zoo in Ontario for the construction of their new state-of-the-art Wildlife Health Centre. The $19.1 million facility is the first of its kind in Canada. The new building delivers significant improvements in medical facilities, such as treatment, surgery, and diagnostic imaging rooms, a clinical laboratory, various multi-purpose animal wards, and much improved office and laboratory space for reproductive programs and research. The “Windows on Wildlife Science Gallery” allows visitors to have a close-up, behind-the-scenes view of the exceptional medical services provided to animals in need, and showcases research into endangered species breeding and reproduction for the benefit of the animals in their care, and for wildlife populations around the world.

Eleanore Oakes Award – The Oakes Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an institutional member in exhibit design, animal husbandry, education or for other significant contributions to the zoo and aquarium field on a smaller scale. This year the award was granted to Ecomuseum Zoo in recognition of their Nature Camp– a week long program designed youth interaction with flora and fauna native to Quebec. Since its inception, the Camp has welcomed and inspired over 10,000 children to learn about wildlife in their own backyard. This year, Ecomuseum Zoo shifted the Camp’s curriculum to focus on concrete actions related to animal welfare, and wildlife conservation in natural habitats. As a result, Camp participants are now learning about advanced concepts such as ecological balance, scientific fieldwork, and animal well-being in all its forms (physical, psychological, and emotional).

Col. G.D. Dailley Award – The Dailley Award recognizes achievement in propagation and management programs in the animal collection of a member Zoo or Aquarium that contributes to the long-term survival of at-risk animal species or populations. This year the award was granted to Riverview Park and Zoo in recognition of their Sulawesi Forest Turtle recovery program. The estimated wild population of the species is roughly at 100 animals and unfortunately breeding success programs worldwide are limited. Since 2016, Riverview Park and Zoo have successfully reproduced the species and have continued to discover fertile eggs as part of a worldwide plan to save the species through monitoring reproductive efforts, and facilitating breeding exchanges.

The Zoo and Aquarium Professional Award was presented to Dr. John Nightingale, CEO and President of the Vancouver Aquarium. For the last 25 years, Dr. Nightingale has been the driving force behind the Vancouver Aquarium’s strategic vision, operations, animal care, and programming. Under his leadership, on World Oceans Day (June 8) of this year, Dr. Nightingale announced a pivotal shift in the direction of the organization with the launch of Ocean Wise – a new global conservation organization consisting for four key pillars – aquarium operations (Vancouver Aquarium, and Oceanografic); public engagement; oceans education; and research, primarily through the Coastal Ocean Research Institute. His vision is to increase the impact of the organization on the conservation of the world’s oceans through real, on-the-ground initiatives undertaken through the Vancouver Aquarium operations and Ocean Wise programs locally, nationally, and globally.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Elfie Ringrose, Volunteer at the Greater Vancouver Zoo for the last 10 years – logging over 1460 volunteer hours! When Ms. Ringrose first began volunteering at the zoo she took a keen interest in caring for and educating visitors about reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and invertebrates. Demonstrating a key understanding of the importance education plays on visitors understanding of wildlife preservation, she has since began assisting with the Jr. Zoologist Camps, Professional Development Events for Educators, and horticulture programs. From cleaning habitats, to preparing diets, and monitoring the health status of the animals, Ms. Ringrose has also played an integral role in the success of the Zoo’s Western Painted Turtle and Oregon Spotted Frog recovery programs.

CAZA was also proud to recognize Denise Prefontaine, Director at Edmonton Valley Zoo with a Certificate of Merit.  CAZA has been honoured to have Ms. Prefontaine serve on CAZA’s Board of Directors for the past 10 years – during which time she has held the positions of President, and Chair of CAZA’s Accreditation Commission. Through her leadership and passion for animal welfare, Ms. Prefontaine has created ground-breaking changes to CAZA’s accreditation program – including the implementation of some of the strongest standards on welfare, conservation and educational programming world-wide.

Accreditation is the backbone of our organization. Accreditation signals to governments and the visiting public that a facility is evaluated regularly by independent inspectors, and upholds the strongest standards in animal welfare, veterinary care, conservation programming, educational initiatives and organizational management, As part of CAZA’s independent accreditation process, CAZA was honoured to re-accredit the following facilities at this year’s conference:

  • African Lion Safari, Ontario
  • Greater Vancouver Zoo, British Columbia
  • Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Yukon
  • Zoo Sauvage, Quebec

For More Information Please Contact

Ashley Street

Manager, Research and Public Affairs

TEL: 613-878-0274


About CAZA

CAZA is the national voice of the zoo and aquarium community in Canada. Representing the accredited zoological parks and aquariums in Canada, its purpose is to promote the welfare of zoo and aquarium wildlife, to advance related science and conservation, and to foster public engagement in the preservation of our natural heritage. For more information visit


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