Little Ray’s Nature Centre in Sarsfield has been named as one of the winners of the Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) Annual Awards of Excellence.

The local wildlife rescue and education centre was named as the winner of the Peter Karsten Award for Small Facility. The award, presented to Little Ray’s for its wildlife rescue work, recognizes institutional achievement in the field of in-situ conservation in areas of habitat or biodiversity support, recovery and/or restoration.

The CAZA Awards of Excellence ceremony was again held virtually in 2021. Winners of the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Awards were recognized for their commitment to animal welfare, conservation, science and education. All of the winning facilities have made significant investments to ensure world-class care of animals and inspire global conservation.

CAZA also recognized volunteers who have contributed their valuable time and effort to wildlife conservation at a member institution.

“We are so incredibly proud of the dedication and accomplishments of our accredited facilities,” said CAZA Executive Director, Jim Facette. “Their commitment to excellence in animal care and leadership in the fields of education, conservation, science and animal welfare throughout COVID-19 is remarkable.”

Seven different facilities this year were acknowledged for their excellence. In addition to Little Ray’s Nature Centre, winners included Zoo de Granby, Saskatoon Forestry Farm, African Lion Safari, The Greater Vancouver Zoo, Assiniboine Park Zoo, and the Toronto Zoo. All were judged to have achieved industry excellence.

CAZA is the leading organization in Canadian animal welfare standards development,. The group’s accreditation process includes expert standards set by leading researchers, biologists, and academia the latest in animal welfare research, organizational management, and public safety protocols is reflected. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s accreditation bridges the ethical concerns with conservation and the public interest.

The 2021 Award of Excellence recipients are:

Thomas R. Baines Award – Large Facility
Granby Zoo – Zoo de Granby, The New Rhinoceroses’ Multi-Species Habitat

Thomas R. Baines Award – Small Facility
Saskatoon Forestry Farm, Park & Zoo – Prairie Dog Exhibit

Colonel G.D. Dailley Award – Large Facility
African Lion Safari – Asian Elephant Program

Colonel G.D. Dailley Award – Small Facility
Greater Vancouver Zoo – Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Program

Peter Karsten Award – Large Facility
African Lion Safari – Elephant Conservation

Peter Karsten Award – Small Facility
Little Ray’s Nature Centers – Wildlife Rescue

Eleanore Oakes Award – Large Facility
Assiniboine Park Zoo – Beluga Bits
Toronto Zoo – Climate Action Learning & Leadership (CALL)

Eleanore Oakes Award – Small Facility
Saskatoon Forestry Farm, Park & Zoo – Interactive and Online Environmental Education Programs

Volunteer of the Year Award
Toronto Zoo – Pam Paterson

Zoo/Aquarium Professional Award
Zoo de Granby – Rock Boily (Veterinary Technician)

To learn more about CAZA and the Outstanding Achievement Awards, visit .