Amos Morris has been appointed as the new director of the Milwaukee County Zoo. Morris comes to Milwaukee County after serving for three and a half years as the deputy director and chief operating officer for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in California.
Morris would replace long-time zoo director Chuck Wikenhauser, who retired earlier this year after 31 years in the role.
“After enjoying three decades of the expert leadership of Chuck Wikenhauser, I’m happy to announce a new era for the Milwaukee County Zoo with the appointment of Amos Morris as its new director,” Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said. “Amos’ 33 of experience in zoo operations, organizational management, and animal management will serve the County Zoo well as we seek to maintain one of the top zoos in the nation for enrichment, education, and entertainment.”
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Morris also has served as director of the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden and executive director of the Evansville Zoological Society in Indiana.
“The County Zoo has never had Black leadership in its 126-year history and in the spirit of the first focus area of our strategic plan, intentional inclusion, we’re proud to continue building a county government that is representative of the diverse array of talent our area has to offer,” Crowley said. “I hope his appointment will serve as inspiration to young people who’ve never seen someone like them in this important role before.” Morris also has held positions at the Pittsburg Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Roger William’s Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Dallas Zoo.
Morris was the first Black member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ board of directors and the first Black director of an AZA accredited zoo. Currently, he serves on the AZA Accreditation Commission.
“It is an honor to be appointed as the next director of the County Zoo and be trusted to take the reins after the retirement of its longest-serving director and a zoo profession I deeply respect,” Morris said. “I’m excited to build on the successes of the last three decades and continue to help the Zoo evolve to meet the needs of the animals in our care and the audiences we serve.”
Morris is expected to begin his new role on Aug. 2. His appointment is pending confirmation from the full Milwaukee County Board in September.