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Zoo Welcomes Peter Zahler as Vice President of Conservation Initiatives

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Peter Zahler will join Woodland Park Zoo as Vice President of Conservation Initiatives in March 2018.

As Peter Zahler asks in his article, Super Rare Super Squirrel, “What glides down mountains at night, sleeps in cliff caves during the day, eats primarily pine needles, and was thought to be extinct for 70 years? And, at four feet in length, is the biggest gliding mammal in the world?” Hint: it’s the same species that Peter rediscovered in Pakistan in 1994—the woolly flying squirrel (which was then thought to be extinct).

Peter is no stranger to enigmatic species having led conservation projects from Alaska, Arizona, Venezuela and Peru, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji to the temperate mountains and vast grasslands of Central Asia. He has studied animals like the Asiatic cheetah, snow leopard, markhor, hoatzin, bristle-thighed curlew, Mongolian gazelle and grasshopper mouse.

Peter’s 30 years of professional experience in conservation leadership includes field programs, research, training, capacity building and communications.  He knows that wildlife conservation is about people just as much as it is about animals. That’s why we are excited to announce that he will be joining the Woodland Park Zoo family as Vice President of Conservation Initiatives.

“We are thrilled to welcome Peter to Woodland Park Zoo where he will be leading and coordinating all institutional wildlife conservation efforts toward the creation of a social movement for conservation solutions,” said Woodland Park Zoo’s President and CEO Alejandro Grajal. “Peter brings a distinguished background in community-based conservation, an ideal fit for the zoo as we pursue our new mission, to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives. We are very excited to see how Peter will use his experience to electrify our community and help us take our conservation efforts and our social movement to a whole new level.”

Peter has a global perspective, with a strong emphasis in Asia, where he once served as the regional director for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). His extensive managerial experience in conservation includes designing and implementing three full-sized country programs in Pakistan, Mongolia and Afghanistan. These three programs are considered cutting-edge examples of payment-for-ecological-services, institutional governance building, protected area design and development, community-based conservation and partnering with industry.

Peter joins us from the Wildlife Conservation Society, a non-profit conservation organization that works with conservation programs around the world and operates New York’s signature zoos including Bronx Zoo. There, he was the director of training and capacity building, which involved advising the global health program, coordinating the snow leopard program and the Wildlife Conservation Society Science Council. He is a mentor to young conservation leaders from developing nations and supports developing country conservationists around the world. We are eager to learn from Peter’s extensive conservation experience and welcome him to Seattle in early March.

He will no doubt feel right at home in this community that has made conservation so central to its identity, to its heart. Your love for animals and your deep commitment to wildlife drive us to be a voice for all species. In our commitment to wildlife conservation, we see Peter’s leadership, expertise and extensive background in bridging innovation and meaningful action as powerful and tangible modes for saving species.

Thank you for your support and please join us in welcoming Peter and his family to Woodland Park Zoo.


Unknown said…
How can I contact Peter Zahler?
Please email and your message will be forwarded to the right place, thanks!