Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Director Chris Kuhar sworn in as new Chair of AZA Board of Directors

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announces the swearing-in of Dr. Chris Kuhar, Director of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, as the new Chair of the AZA Board of Directors.

“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.”

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 239 accredited facilities collectively contribute $230 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.

“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.”

Executive Director of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo since 2012, Kuhar manages the Zoo’s extensive animal collection and oversees the daily operations of the 183 acre facility. Since joining Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2008, he has also served as Curator of Primates and Small Mammals and Curator of Animals. Prior to that, Kuhar was the Research Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, where he studied animal behavior for nearly five years. He previously worked as a Research Assistant at Zoo Atlanta from 2000 to 2003 and at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo from 1997 to 2000.

Kuhar received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Akron in 1997, his Master of Science in zoology from Oklahoma State University in 2000 and his doctorate in experimental psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004.

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for four years, Kuhar has served as the Board Liaison to the Animal Welfare Committee, and as a member of the Safety Committee, Animal Population Management Committee, Research and Technology Committee as well as multiple TAGS and SSPs. Kuhar also serves as an AZA Executive Leadership Development Program mentor.

Joe Kleimanhttp://www.themedreality.com
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe has been News Editor and contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, and MiceChat. His blog, ThemedReality.com takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @themedreality Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his fiancé, two dogs, and a ghost.

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