A huge achievement this week for the Utica Zoo.

The Central New York landmark successfully gained accreditation from the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This stamp of approval, announced at the annual conference of zoos in Seattle, means the Utica Zoo will be on a par with the other 232 accredited zoos nationwide. The yearlong campaign and its conclusion will result in many benefits for the zoo and its patrons. Here's the official announcement from a press release the Utica Zoo posted on its Facebook page:

AZA accreditation carries numerous benefits including recognition from the top animal care facilities in the world. Accreditation also allows access to certain funding and grants, expanded participation in animal exchange and breeding programs, access to collaborate with world renowned animal care specialists, and the fostering of staff and community pride in knowing their Zoo is ranked in the top echelon of animal care facilities.

The press release continued with thanks for the zoo's "staff, volunteers, contractors, Board of Directors, donors, the Oneida County Legislature, and County Executive Anthony Picente for their dedication, hard work and support in achieving this recognition.”