Why Join the Alliance

The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) is an international specialty association and accrediting body for zoos, aquariums and marine parks that display marine mammals.  Its member facilities collectively possess the largest body of marine mammal experience and expertise in the world. Dedicated to the highest standards of care, our members’ priority is to provide animals with safe, healthy environments, state-of-the-art veterinary care and exceptional welfare practices.

AMMPA members are committed to wildlife conservation, scientific research, and the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded, sick and injured animals in the wild. Our facilities provide educational, conservation-oriented programming to millions of guests each year and are recognized as the gold standard for zoological parks and aquariums throughout the world that display marine mammals.

With Alliance membership, you will gain a strong partner invested in your facility’s success. 

Advantages to AMMPA membership include:

Internationally Recognized Gold-Standard Accreditation

Considered to be the most comprehensive and stringent in the world, Alliance accreditation standards are based on decades of experience and best practices of marine mammal experts throughout the world.  To qualify for AMMPA membership, facilities must become accredited by meeting or exceeding these standards, which encompass topics ranging from animal health and wellness, applied animal behavior, training and enrichment, and water and environmental quality, to population sustainability, transportation, scientific research and conservation, and public education. The standards are meant to help facilities optimize the health and welfare of and environmental conditions for marine mammals in their care and maximize their educational and scientific impact.

Alliance-accredited facilities must demonstrate they meet these requirements every five years in a comprehensive, two-day, on-site inspection by a team of experienced professionals.

AMMPA accreditation assures the public and policy makers that a member facility has been inspected by experts and is respected, by peers who are knowledgeable about marine mammals and the care they require.

Communications and Issue Management Support

AMMPA helps its members stay informed through a daily e-news digest and be prepared as issues arise through talking points, messaging, news releases, and communications counsel and support when needed. AMMPA experts serve as spokespersons on behalf of the marine mammal community in dozens of media interviews each year, providing reporters with the facts about the important work of zoos, aquariums and marine parks, the latest scientific research on marine mammals, and additional resources on a range of issues.

AMMPA members also join together annually to amplify the voices of individual facilities through collective conservation- and marine mammal-themed social media campaigns.

Communications professionals from facilities around the world collaborate year round on a communications email listserv, discussing issues and sharing knowledge with each other.

Scientific Research, Expertise and Support

Scientific research and conservation studies at member facilities demonstrate an unparalleled commitment to the well being of marine mammals in our collections and in the wild.  Marine mammals in the wild today are threatened at unprecedented levels from pollution, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing debris, novel diseases, and prey scarcity. The scientific research done with marine mammals in aquariums, zoos and marine parks, much of which also benefits marine mammals in the wild, is needed now more than ever before. 

AMMPA works to facilitate and promote that science and a science-based understanding of marine mammal issues. To that end, legislators, regulators, government bodies, and media outlets often call upon AMMPA scientists for their expertise, and AMMPA scientists are working together to identify key gaps in the scientific literature on marine mammal research and help to facilitate that research.

Legislative, Regulatory and International Advocacy         

AMMPA membership enables facilities to engage with AMMPA staff, consultants, and other members on critical issues facing the marine mammal community around the world. Burdensome and unnecessary regulations and legislation can be costly and disruptive. AMMPA works to ensure government proposals are science-based and in the best interests of the animals in our care. Through testimony, meetings with legislators and regulators, regulatory comment submissions, and policy maker briefings, AMMPA works to create a more favorable operating environment for and protect the work and mission of zoos aquariums, and marine parks everywhere. 

Through its Brussels office, AMMPA participates in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on Biological Diversity, (CBD), and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), providing expertise and ensuring the marine mammal community has a clear and effective voice in the proceedings.

Professional Development for Facility Educators and Support for Your Education Programming

AMMPA sponsors a popular annual Educators Conference hosted by a different member facility each year. The meeting enables educators from around the world to share best practices, resources, and innovative programming ideas and see first-hand the educational programming of their colleagues at other zoos, aquariums and marine parks. Our educators continue to collaborate year round on an educators’ listserv and work together to find ways to measure our individual and collective educational impact.

AMMPA educators work with various AMMPA committees to produce and regularly update attractively designed, comprehensive, science-based fact sheets on dolphins, belugas, killer whales, California sea lions and other animals. The fact sheets, available in multiple languages, help ensure AMMPA facilities have the most current, factual information available and can provide accurate, consistent information about the animals.

Conservation Work

The Alliance supports the voluntary participation of its members in rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing stranded marine mammals, sea turtles and birds, providing homes to animals deemed non-releasable and collecting data on stranded animals, which is a significant source of information on the natural history, health, and status of wild populations. The collective knowledge, experience, and resources of AMMPA facilities have been key factors in thousands of successful rehabilitation efforts

According to an AMMPA survey, our member facilities participated in 5,625 marine mammal strandings over a five-year period, providing rehabilitation to more than 1,939 of the animals.  In the same period, our members participated in 4,853 sea turtle stranding responses and 6,035 bird stranding responses. AMMPA members provided more than $12.2 million in financial support for marine mammal stranding response, $2.6 million for sea turtles, and $1.8 million for birds and gave 260,000 volunteer hours for stranding response activities over that period.

AMMPA members also raised more than $207,000 for a project to save the endangered vaquita porpoise, donated hundreds of hours of volunteer scientific, veterinary, and animal care expertise to the project, and created a microsite to help raise awareness and additional funds.

Annual Meeting and Committees

Unique among trade association meetings and open only to members, AMMPA’s annual meeting is an intimate, collegial gathering of facility leaders across the disciplines that serves as a forum for thoughtful discussion and consensus-building on a range of issues affecting marine mammal facilities throughout the world. Attendees hear from numerous regulatory agency representatives, authors, scientists, public relations experts, political consultants, pollsters, educators and their colleagues from facilities around the world. The meeting receives rave reviews for its compelling and inspirational content and the perspective and information and networking opportunities it provides.

Membership in AMMPA also affords the opportunity to participate in the work of AMMPA committees and task forces on animal management, communications, education, government affairs, international advocacy, policy and planning, population management, scientific research, stranding, and veterinary medicine, helping to advance the mission and goals of the worldwide marine mammal community.