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posted: 9/11/2012 8:44 AM

Western Illinois' Niabi Zoo loses accreditation

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Associated Press

COAL VALLEY -- The Niabi Zoo in western Illinois has lost it Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation.

The zoo in Coal Valley had held that accreditation since 2006. But Director Marc Heinzman says Niabi lost the stamp of approval over the weekend because the association found the zoo's exhibits, including the elephant enclosure, lacking. Heinzman says the AZA also took issue with the zoo's record keeping and staffing levels.

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In a statement, the association says the animal exhibits don't meet modern standards. Heinzman concedes the elephant enclosure isn't very natural looking and could be improved.

The lack of accreditation could cost Niabi some animals. Heinzman says it has gibbons and other animals on loan from other zoos that might decide to recall them.

Niabi can reapply for AZA accreditation next year.

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