County Executive David Crowley
Press Release

County Executive David Crowley Appoints Amos Morris as the New Director of the Milwaukee County Zoo

Morris will be the first Black Director to lead the County Zoo

By - Jun 25th, 2021 10:31 am
Amos Morris. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County.

Amos Morris. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County.

MILWAUKEE, WI – Following the retirement of long-time Zoo Director, Chuck Wikenhauser earlier this year, today, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley announced the appointment of Amos Morris as the next leader of the Milwaukee County Zoo. If confirmed, Morris will be the first Black Zoo Director in the history of the County.

“After enjoying three decades of the expert leadership of Chuck Wikenhauser, I’m happy to announce a new era for the Milwaukee County Zoo with the appointment of Amos Morris as its new director,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Amos’ thirty-three years of experience in zoo operations, organizational management, and animal management will serve the County Zoo well as we seek to maintain one of the top zoos in the nation for enrichment, education, and entertainment.”

Morris comes to Milwaukee County after serving for three and a half years as the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

“The County Zoo has never had Black leadership in its 126-year history and in the spirit of the first focus area of our strategic plan, intentional inclusion, we’re proud to continue building a county government that is representative of the diverse array of talent our area has to offer,” continued Crowley. “It is pleasure to welcome Amos back to the Midwest region where he grew up. I hope his appointment will serve as inspiration to young people who’ve never seen someone like them in this important role before.”

In the past, Morris served as Director of the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden, Executive Director of the Evansville Zoological Society in Indiana.

“The Zoological Society of Milwaukee is pleased to join County Executive David Crowley in welcoming such an accomplished and respected leader to the Zoo,” said Jodi Gibson, President and CEO of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.  “We look forward to partnering with Amos and the staff at the Zoo to advance our shared vision for the Zoo.”

In addition to his former roles in Indiana, Morris has held positions at the Pittsburg Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Roger William’s Park Zoo in Rhode Island, and the Dallas Zoo. Amos is no stranger to breaking barriers, he was the first Black member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Board of Directors and the first Black Zoo Director of an AZA accredited zoo. Currently, he serves on the AZA Accreditation Commission.

“It is an honor to be appointed as the next Director of the County Zoo and be trusted to take the reins after the retirement of its longest-serving director and a zoo profession I deeply respect,” said Amos Morris. “I’m excited to build on the successes of the last three decades and continue to help the Zoo evolve to meet the needs of the animals in our care and the audiences we serve.”

Morris is expected to begin on August 2nd. His appointment is pending confirmation from the full County Board in September.

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One thought on “County Executive David Crowley Appoints Amos Morris as the New Director of the Milwaukee County Zoo”

  1. Trmott says:

    Very solid hire, it would appear, and I congratulate Mr. Morris on this career step. But early on you say, “… Morris will be the first Black Zoo Director in the history of the County.” And the color of his skin is important why?

    He appears to have excellent educational, professional, and leadership qualifications and the testimonials from people who are familiar with him including those who worked under him are truly outstanding. None of those folks commented about his skin color (which actually he had nothing to do with) because, of course, it makes no difference whatsoever. I’m pretty sure that the zoo animals couldn’t care less about that superficiality, either.

    I invite all who are interested to read this and don’t skip the comments.

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