- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Donna Fernandes is retiring after 16 years as president of the Buffalo Zoo.

The 57-year-old told the staff Thursday that she’ll stay until spring and after that plans to spend more time with her family, travel and pursue other “bucket list” goals.

Fernandes took over the nation’s third-oldest zoo in 2000 when its accreditation was at risk and attendance was declining in the face of outdated exhibits.

Since then, the zoo has built more than $50 million in new exhibits for its otters, sea lions, polar bears and other animals. Annual attendance has gone from under 345,000 to around a half million.

The zoo’s board of directors says it will launch a national search for a successor.


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