Denise Verret, who has been serving as interim director of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens since January, was nominated Tuesday to fill the position full time.
“Denise brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and dedication to the task of meeting the core mission of the L.A. Zoo: setting the highest possible standard for animal welfare and delivering a positive experience to every visitor,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in announcing the nomination.
If confirmed by the City Council, she would be the first black woman to lead a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She would replace John Lewis, who retired in January after leading the zoo for 15 years.
“I am deeply humbled by the opportunity Mayor Garcetti has entrusted in me as we pursue the transformation of making the zoo a uniquely Los Angeles experience,” Verret said.
The zoo director oversees the zoo’s more than 1,400 animals at a facility that attracts 2 million visitors each year. The director also leads the Zoo’s California Condor Recovery program, which helped bring the endangered birds back from the brink of extinction, according to the mayor’s office.
Verret has worked for the city for 30 years and spent the last 19 years as the zoo’s deputy director. She led the development of the L.A. Zoo Strategic and Vision Plan and served as a zoo accreditation inspector for the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums for the last 14 years.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: