The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is barred from species survival and breeding programs after losing an appeal for the loss of its accreditation.

On Monday, the zoo said the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' board of directors denied its "strong appeal" looking to get back its accreditation or to postpone the issue until next year. Therefore, the zoo is not allowed to apply for accreditation before September.

The accrediting group said it has concerns about the zoo's animal programs department and the unethical business practices of its former management. The Ohio attorney general's office is also in the midst of a review of the zoo.

Earlier, zoo officials said the ruling would not impact the operation of the zoo nor the experience of visitors. However, with the loss of its species survival and breeding programs, the zoo said it "will impact species conservation programs."

The accreditation denial in October from the association, which is considered the nation's top zoo-accrediting body, was a blow to the county's second-largest zoo. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was once widely respected in the industry and by the public and was linked with Jack Hanna, a former director of the zoo and a celebrity, according to Hanna's website.

Tom Schmid, the new president and chief executive officer of the zoo, said Monday's decision was disappointing but the zoo was "moving forward."

"In the last nine months, the zoo team has moved mountains to make transformative changes that continue to make us a better zoo with new team members, new policies, and more oversights that were in place at the time of the AZA inspection in July," said Schmid, who assumed his position a week ago and participated in the appeal.

If the zoo had to reapply for accreditation in September 2022, the facility would have an inspection in the fall or winter of next year, said Dan Ashe, former president and CEO of the zoo, in an interview with The Associated Press. He said a decision would likely be made in March 2023 tied to a hearing.

Earlier, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium officials said the ruling on the appeal for the loss of accreditation would not impact the operation of the zoo nor the experience of visitors. In this photo, Georgia Bolin of the Columbus Zoo staff holds the male babies, the first recorded twin birth of gorillas in captivity in the Northern Hemisphere.Getty Images

The accrediting body also voiced concerns about the zoo's acquisition of ambassador animals. A recent documentary, "The Conservation Game," raised questions about how celebrity conservationists, including Hanna, acquired exotic animals. The zoo has since cut ties with animal vendors who don't meet certain standards of animal care.

Schmid said Monday that accreditation by a third-party professional association was important, "so we are exploring all options to continue fulfilling our mission and to continue our work with endangered and threatened species that need our help."

"Without question, the care and welfare of the animals remains our top priority," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dan Ashe, former president and CEO of the zoo, said in an interview with The Associated Press that if the zoo had to reapply for accreditation in September 2022, the facility would have an inspection in the fall or winter of next year, with a decision likely made in March 2023 tied to a hearing. In this photo, Fox cohosts of "The Five" welcome a penguin from the zoo on the Columbus Zoo for Animals Are Great Segment at Fox News Channel Studios on Sept. 12, 2019, in New York City.John Lamparski/Getty Images