MN Zoo director named president of world zoo organization

12:27 PM, Oct 18, 2013   |    comments
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APPLE VALLEY, Minn. -- Lee Ehmke, Minnesota Zoo Director and CEO, has been named president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). The announcement was made in Orlando, Fla. yesterday during the annual WAZA conference.

Ehmke will represent WAZA at international environmental policy and regional zoo association meetings during his two-year term as president.

According to a press release, his priorities include updating the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy and completing a global strategic framework for zoo animal welfare.

Ehmke said, "As the future of wildlife and wild places becomes increasingly uncertain, the collective work of zoos and aquariums is more critical than ever."

Ehmke has served on the WAZA council since 2009.  He succeeds Jorg Junhold, director of the Leipzig Zoo in Germany.

WAZA has 300 members from zoological institutions, associations, affiliate organizations, and corporate partners across the world.  Its work includes conservation education, management, endangered animal breeding programs, and best practices in exhibit development.

Ehmke said the Minnesota Zoo has long been engaged in the development of conservation efforts and an effective global zoo/aquarium network.

"Lee's appointment is tremendous recognition for the Minnesota Zoo and its commitment to conservation," said Julie Kunkel, Minnesota Zoo Board Chair.  "Our involvement with WAZA has resulted in demonstrable benefits for the Zoo, and we look forward to Lee's tenure as president as an opportunity to advance our conservation efforts."

Ehmke has served as director and CEO of the Minnesota Zoo since 2000.  Prior to arriving in Minnesota, he was director of planning and design at New York's Wildlife Conservation Society, headquartered at the Bronx Zoo.

The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley. For more information, call 952-431-9500 or visit the Minnesota Zoo website.

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