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Buffalo Zoo president steps down after 16 years

Posted at 8:41 AM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-20 18:19:53-04

The Buffalo Zoo is getting a new president in charge of its pack.

Dr. Donna Fernandes is stepping down as President of the Buffalo Zoo, but will stay involved with long-term exhibit design and capital campaign fund raising.

In her time as President, Fernandes took a zoo that was facing a loss of professional accreditation and saw a steady decline in visitations due to outdated exhibits, and turned it into a visitor attraction with annual attendance exceeding 500,000.

In the last 16 years with Fernandes as President, the Buffalo Zoo has seen over $50 million in new exhibits. A new plan was put in place to transform the third oldest zoo in the country into one of the best.

Fernandes will be retiring in the spring of 2017, once a suitable successor has been hired.

Her decision to step down will give her more opportunities to spend time with her family, all of whom are out of state. She still plans on remaining actively involved with the Buffalo Zoo.