Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Executive Director, Dr. Chris Kuhar, today was sworn-in as the new Chair of AZA’s Board where he will serve in a leadership role of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an independent accrediting organization representing more than 230 institutions around the world.
As Chair of the Board, Kuhar, along with three other executive officers and nine board members, will be involved in every aspect of the national organization, including accreditation, ethics, animal welfare, and conservation.
“Dr. Kuhar is an intelligent, accomplished leader with a demonstrated commitment to saving animals from extinction,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “His expertise in conservation issues and dedication to serving the AZA community makes him well-suited for this prestigious position. I am confident that Dr. Kuhar will succeed in this role and help our organization as a whole advance animal care and conservation.”
Each year, AZA’s 236 accredited facilities collectively contribute $220 million to field conservation projects that help to protect species across the world, serve more than 195 million visitors, welcome more than 12 million students on educational field trips, contribute $22.5 billion to the U.S. economy and support 208,000 jobs.
Kuhar has managed Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s extensive animal collection and daily operations since 2013.
“I’m honored to help lead this esteemed organization and look forward to strengthening collaboration among our AZA partners,” said Kuhar. “Together we can make a lasting impact to secure a future for wildlife and inspire the next generation of conservationists.”
The news was announced at AZA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, where Cleveland Metroparks Zoo also was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent commission. To be accredited, the Zoo underwent a thorough review to ensure it meets ever-rising standards in animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety.
“By achieving AZA accreditation, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo demonstrates a commitment to protecting animals around the world and inspiring their guests to do the same,” said Ashe.
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