SANTA ROSA (AP) — A popular wildlife preserve in the North Bay has been stripped of accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums over concerns about the facility’s care for animals.

The association, also known as the AZA, announced this week that it would deny its “gold standard” accreditation to Santa Rosa’s Safari West, according to local media reports on Friday.

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“The Commission noted serious concerns with veterinary practices and care, and acquisition and disposition of animals,” Dan Ashe, the association’s president, said in a statement. “I am hopeful that the owners and leadership at Safari West are taking these matters seriously.”

There are reports that Safari West is appealing the decision. Executive director Keo Hornbostel said its operations remain largely unchanged in the decades since it first received AZA accreditation.

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“Some of the information they were provided is not accurate,” Hornbostel told the news station. “Having our vet care compromised is not true at all.”

After the appeal is filed, AZA’s commission has 45 days to change its mind. If the denial is upheld, the association said, Safari West can apply again next September.

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