SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is announcing 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.
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.
About Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a nationally-recognized leader among zoos and aquariums in North America with over 2,000 animals across 400 species from around the world. The Zoo specializes in animal care, education and research and is certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Since 1995, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has contributed more than $8 million to wildlife conservation efforts around the world in partnership with the Cleveland Zoological Society. www.FutureForWildlife.org
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eleven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.