Friends of the Alexandria Zoo, better known as FOTAZ, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose purpose is to help promote Alexandria Zoological Park, its programs and activities, as well as aid in its continued development.
FOTAZ evolved from a Zoo committee of concerned citizens appointed by City Commissioner O'Hearn Mathews in 1970 when the USDA threatened the Zoo with closure. FOTAZ, formed in 1971, immediately began efforts to improve the quality of the animal care and facilities.
One of FOTAZ's primary functions is to supplement the Zoo's budget, providing funding for the Zoo's on going projects involving animals, construction, staff, education, conservation, and public services. Through their efforts, FOTAZ helps ensure the continued progress of the Alexandria Zoo according to the adopted Master Plan.
FOTAZ gets is operational funding by promoting zoo special events, selling annual zoo memberships, operating the zoo gift shop, selling train tickets, renting strollers and wagons on site, and selling fish food. Personal and corporate contributions also aid FOTAZ's budget.
Today, with the assistance of FOTAZ and the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Zoo, which was founded in 1926, is one of three zoos in Louisiana accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and one of Central Louisiana's most beloved and important institutions.