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Zoo Knoxville's president to help lead the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as vice chair

Zoo Knoxville president and CEO Lisa New has been appointed to the Vice Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and is on track to become the next chair.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville now has a leadership role on a national board in charge of accrediting zoos and aquariums across the United States and overseas.

The zoo announced its CEO and president Lisa New has been appointed as the Vice Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, saying she is slated to become Chair of the Board in 2023. 

"This is a huge honor that attests to her commitment to the role of modern zoos as the largest animal conservation movement on the planet," the zoo said. "This is the first time Zoo Knoxville has had a leadership role on the national board. In addition to her board responsibilities, she is an accreditation inspector, serves on the Great Ape Taxon Advisory Group, the AZA Animal Welfare Committee, the Animal Population Management Committee and the Elephant Population Sustainability Task Force as a steering committee member."

The AZA is a national non-profit organization in charge of accreditation, ethics, animal welfare and conservation -- representing more than 240 facilities across the US and overseas.

"Less than 10 percent of the 2,800 wildlife exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act meet the more comprehensive standards of AZA accreditation," the zoo said. "The highly trained professionals at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums provide excellent care for more than 800,000 animals, making them the leading experts in animal care and welfare."

New said she was honored to have been chosen.

“Serving on the AZA Board of Directors is some of the most meaningful work I've ever done,” New said. “The AZA brings all accredited zoos and aquariums together as a united force for wildlife and wild places. I’m honored to have been chosen to sit at the helm of this organization as we envision and advance the future of global conservation. In some cases, we are the last hope for critically endangered animals and I don’t take the responsibility lightly.”