Indianapolis, Indiana (September 12, 2017) – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is announcing the swearing-in of Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo, as the new Chair of the AZA Board of Directors.

“Jim has been a strong and influential voice within the AZA community for years. Jim’s experience in animal welfare and husbandry, combined with an incredible commitment to field conservation and saving species, make him well-suited to lead us as the next chair of the AZA Board of Directors,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “I have had the opportunity to spend time with Jim – both at the Bronx Zoo and among his colleagues. He is a respected member of our community and will help us continue to advance our profession.”

As Chair of the Board, Breheny, along with three other executive officers and nine Board members, will be involved in every aspect of the national organization, including accreditation, ethics, animal welfare, and conservation. Each year, AZA’s 231 accredited facilities collectively contribute $216 million to field conservation projects that help to protect species across the world, serve more than 196 million visitors, welcome more than 12 million students on educational field trips, contribute $22.5 billion to the U.S. economy and support 208,000 jobs.

“Our mission as leaders in the zoo and aquarium community all boils down to this: we need to provide the best care and welfare for the individual animals we keep,” said Breheny. “We must manage the species we keep sustainably for the future; and we must connect our animals and our exhibits to species in the wild and inspire and empower our visitors to support our efforts to save these species and their habitats.  As members of this association, we must be active agents of conservation.  We must continue to challenge ourselves, to increase our efforts and funding for saving species and protecting the areas in which they live.”

As WCS Executive Vice President and General Director, Zoos and Aquarium and Director of the Bronx Zoo, Breheny is responsible for the operation and management of the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium, the Central Park, Prospect Park and Queens Zoos. Collectively, the zoos and aquarium house over 14,000 animals representing 1,500 species. Jim earned a B.S. in Biology from Manhattan College and an M.S. in Biology from Fordham University. He has been with WCS for 44 years, 36 years as a full-time staff member. A former Curatorial Science Fellow and Curator, he was named General Curator in 2004, Director of the Bronx Zoo in 2005 and was appointed General Director in 2011. Jim was an adjunct professor of Biology at Manhattan College from 1988 - 2005. In 2016, Breheny launched, along with Animal Planet, a television docu-series called THE ZOO, which provides insights into the dedicated and diverse skills of the staff at the zoo as they care for the animals and work to save species. The series is currently taping its second season.

About the Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo, located on 265 acres of hardwood forest in Bronx, NY, opened on Nov. 8, 1899. It is world-renowned for its leadership in the areas of animal welfare, husbandry, veterinarian care, education, science and conservation. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is the flagship park of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which also manages the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium and operates field programs in nearly 60 countries and across the world’s ocean.

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit