|Alejandro Grajal will begin his role as Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO on May 16, 2016.|
The CEO Selection Committee, comprising Woodland Park Zoo Board members and community representatives, was highly impressed by his leadership, deep passion for education and conservation, and significant contributions as a research scientist that span conservation biology and animal welfare to the social sciences. Grajal will assume service on Monday, May 16.
Grajal joined the leadership team at the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the Brookfield Zoo, 10 years ago. He now serves as senior vice president for conservation, education and training. Before Chicago, Grajal was a top executive at the National Audubon Society, where he founded and ran its Latin America and Caribbean Programs. A native Venezuelan, he began his career at the Wildlife Conservation Society as executive director for Latin America programs after earning a doctorate in zoology at the University of Florida.
As a leading voice on the role of zoos in the face of pressing global environmental concerns, Grajal has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and books. Much of his writing has focused on conserving wildlife and how climate change will affect animals throughout the world. In 2013, he was co-author of Climate Change Education: A Primer for Zoos and Aquariums.
“Zoos have a duty to educate and inform their communities about the impact of climate change by connecting them with animal species from around the world,” Grajal said. “Zoos must be an active part of their communities and show people what’s at stake. But we must go further than that. We must motivate them to act on behalf of our planet.”
At the Brookfield Zoo, Grajal oversees 15 field programs in North America, Latin America and Africa. He directs an audience research program that explores the attitudes and understanding of zoo visitors toward animal welfare and conservation. In that role, he oversees how the zoo presents itself to the public on key issues. He also leads the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network, a coalition of 12 zoological institutions, universities and NGOs.
On a global scale, he has been part of conservation programs with the United States Agency for International Development, the Global Environmental Fund, the World Bank and the European Union.
We look forward to the many opportunities in the coming months for you all, our extended zoo family, to welcome Alejandro to our community.