- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The man who has led Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia for more than 40 years is stepping down later this year.

The zoo announced Thursday that president and CEO Palmer “Satch” Krantz will retire June 30.

Riverbanks is the top tourist attraction in South Carolina, with more than 1.2 million visitors last year.

Krantz joined the zoo in 1973 and became executive director three years later, at age 26.

The zoo has more than 2,000 animals.

Krantz’s retirement comes as the zoo completed a $36 million expansion last year. It was the third major expansion in its history.

He is the nation’s longest serving zoo director and is a past president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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