Leading in a Dynamic Environment Founded in 1875

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The Buffalo Zoo—Leading in a Dynamic Environment Founded in 1875, the Buffalo Zoo (located in Buffalo, New York) is the third oldest zoo in the United States. During its early years, the zoo was one of the best zoos. Dedicated to conservation, education, and recre- ation, the Buffalo Zoo plays an essential role in a variety of local, regional, and global conservation efforts. However, the outdated buildings and displays resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of annual visitors to the Buffalo Zoo. Threatened with losing their national accreditation, zoo administrators announced a highly contro- versial plan to move the zoo from Delaware Park. Although the ill-fated plan was backed by Buffalo’s mayor and newspaper, the community strongly opposed the plan. After more than 2 years, the commu- nity gained the necessary political support to reject the zoo’s plan to change locations. The zoo presi- dent resigned when his plan failed, leaving the zoo with no direction, inadequate funding, and poor community relations. After a national search for a zoo president and CEO, the Board of Directors hired Donna Fernan- des, a newly minted MBA from Boston’s Simmons Graduate School of Management. She also has a master’s and Ph.D. in ecology, evolution, and animal behavior from Princeton University and undergrad- uate degrees from Phillips Academy and Brown University (graduated summa cum laude). Not only is she academically qualified, but she also has extensive zoological experience, including serving as curator of Animals and Education at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Wildlife Center and vice president of Operations at Zoo New England in Boston. As quoted in the Buffalo News (May 26, 2002), the chair of the zoo’s board and executive vice president of M&T Bank recalled that “the first time we met Donna, we saw a subtleness that was understated, a real depth and background in the zoo world, and a way of sort of charming you that we thought would really work well in this area.”…

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