Bramble Park Zoo facing issues with accreditation

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KXLG) – The possible loss of accreditation of the Bramble Park Zoo remains an important issue for city of Watertown officials.  Dan Miller, who is the zoo director at Bramble Park Zoo, says that the lack of a quarantine building for animals that are sick and need to be separated from others is one of two major deficiencies that has been identified by the agency in charge of zoo accreditation’s. That agency is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, also known as the AZA.

Miller says that in addition to not having a quarantine facility to house sick animals, there are other significant issues with losing their AZA accreditation.

After the AZA inspection in 2014, money was put into the zoo budget for the project but later taken out to fund another city project.  Funding has been restored in the 2021 budget, however the city will need to find the funds to pay for at least part of the project sooner if they want to keep their accreditation. Miller says that he hopes at least phase 1 of the project can be done before the inspectors return.

Miller says that staffing was also noted by the AZA as a deficiency.  The current staff consists of 5 zookeepers who take care of over 800 animals and 30 buildings on the zoo property.  The zoo has been approved for an additional zoo keeper position in the 2020 budget. Doing so much with a small staff is an amazing task.

Miller hopes that city officials can find funding to build part of the quarantine building to satisfy the AZA accreditation requirements. He says that no matter what, he and his staff will continue to work hard to make the Bramble Park Zoo a bright spot for the City and keeping the AZA’s accreditation is critical to doing that.