POWELL, Ohio (WCHM) — The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has scheduled a hearing on the Columbus Zoo’s appeal of its loss of accreditation earlier this year.

The AZA’s executive committee has approved the zoo’s request to appeal the loss of accreditation, forwarding the request to the AZA’s board of directors, with a hearing scheduled to take place at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 13.

The AZA denied the zoo’s accreditation in early October based on a number of controversies surrounding the Columbus landmark, including the misappropriation of funds and resources by former high-level management and accusations that former zoo director Jack Hanna had improper ties to big cat trade.

According to a press release from the zoo, it filed a detailed request to appeal the pulling of its accreditation in November. During the appeal process, the zoo has remained accredited.

The Commission evaluates and recognizes zoos in areas of operations and animal welfare. One source said losing the accreditation is a black eye for the zoo and can determine what animals are available to be transferred here.  Sources said there is also concern what the loss will mean for funding and donor confidence. 

The zoo has held AZA accreditation for more than 40 years.