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Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak to retire

During his time as director, Walczak oversaw the additions of the Islands, Gorilla Forest and Glacier Run exhibits.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After 17 years of leading the Louisville Zoo, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Zoo Director John Walczak will retire.

Walczak has been with the zoo since 1985, becoming director in 2004. During his time as director, Walczak oversaw the additions of the Islands, Gorilla Forest and Glacier Run exhibits and led campaigns to expand and renovate other exhibits.

The zoo received top honors for gorilla conservation in 2017 and won the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Significant Achievement Education Award for their School at the Zoo program.

“John is dedicated to the zoo’s mission to ‘better the bond between people and our planet,’ as evidenced by exhibits focused on education and conservation," Fischer said. "John is an experienced, innovative leader and he will be missed.”

Walczak said that while it was not easy to step away, he believed now was the right time to bring in a new leader to continue the zoo's mission.

"It has been an honor to lead this wonderful organization these last seventeen years," Walczak said. "I look forward to watching and supporting the growth of our zoo into the future."

Walczak will stay through the summer as a national search is conducted to find his replacement.

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