The Lowcountry Zoo has been an important element of the mission for Brookgreen Gardens since its inception. It is one of five institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in South Carolina. The AZA is America's most respected organization for zoos and aquariums. All of the native animals in the Lowcountry Zoo were either bred and raised in captivity or have sustained a major disability due to injury. In either case, these animals could not survive in the wild.