L.A. Controller Recommends Greater Transparency & Accountability at Zoo

LOS ANGELES – L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today recommended a series of short and long-term changes for the Los Angeles Zoo (Zoo) and the independent entity that serves as its official support organization, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA).

The Controller’s report calls for increased transparency and accountability at GLAZA, a not-for-profit that exists to support the zoo and is made up of paid staff and a volunteer board dedicated to managing membership, concessions, fundraising and marketing. The Controller also recommended consolidating and clarifying multiple governance agreements and better tracking performance.

Los Angeles’ current governance structure is unique among zoos. According to a recent study of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, more than 80 percent of its accredited zoos throughout the world are non-government managed and largely operated by not-for-profit entities. Meanwhile, the operating agreement and multiple memoranda of understanding between the Zoo and GLAZA has resulted in an institution that does not live up to its full potential and is often hamstrung in attracting the contributions and resources that would better support a more world-class attraction and the highest level of animal welfare.

“Amid staffing shortages, infrastructure challenges and budget limitations the Los Angeles Zoo has fostered an appreciation for wildlife and educated generations of young people and adults,” L.A. Controller Ron Galperin said. “But more can done to go beyond the status quo. The question is not whether change is needed at the zoo, but what form it will take. By implementing my recommendations, the zoo will best be able to ensure the welfare of the zoo’s diverse and unique plants and animals so future generations of animal lovers can continue enjoying one of L.A.’s most beloved places.”

Read the report.

Watch the explainer video.

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