Buttonwood Park Zoo Director Keith Lovett heads to the Bronx Zoo


NEW BEDFORD – “While saying goodbye to the animal friends I have made over the past nine years is difficult, what I will miss most is the incredible staff who are so dedicated to the zoo and the supportive community which allowed it to thrive”, were the parting words of Keith Lovett who leaves his post of executive director of Buttonwood Park Zoo.

He served as Director of Animal Programs at Bronx Zoo in New York.

“It has been a pleasure to lead BPZOO and work in New Bedford for the past nine years,” Lovett said in a prepared statement. “I am very proud of the physical changes made to the zoo and the improvements that have been made to mission-based programs during this time. The support of this great community, alongside all the great staff, is what I will miss the most.

“Making the decision to leave the zoo and New Bedford was difficult, but the opportunity to have a leadership role in one of the world’s leading zoos and conservation organizations was an opportunity I had to embrace,” said Lovett commented via email. .

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Lovett came to the zoo through the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he served as director for 13 years. He is originally from Salem, New Hampshire.

“The most important thing is to look at education and other zoo programs to make community outreach a priority,” Lovett said in 2012 when he was appointed by Mayor Jon Mitchell as director. from the zoo.

“Many congratulations to Executive Director of Buttonwood Park Zoo, Keith Lovett, who will become Director of Animal Programs at the Bronx Zoo – a major position in the zoological profession and a reflection of what he has accomplished here,” Mitchell said. Monday night on social media. “During his ten-year tenure at New Bedford, Keith’s leadership ushered in new and expanded exhibits, an upsurge in attendance, and a growing national reputation for conservation and animal welfare programs. We thank Keith for his countless contributions and wish him well in his new role.

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“We have the opportunity to be the voice of the community that teaches our children and encourages our adults to not only care about the environment, but to act on behalf of the environment,” Lovett said in 2019 when the zoo was celebrating its 125th. birthday.

With over 25 years of animal expertise and a passion rooted in wildlife conservation, Keith has provided exceptional leadership and growth to this beloved community institution, BPZoo said in its newsletter.

Among his accomplishments during his tenure at BPZOO, Lovett greatly enhanced the animal care and welfare, environmental education, and community impact programs for which BPZOO is now known. In addition, BPZOO has significantly increased its support for wildlife conservation programs for threatened and endangered species, both locally and globally, the bulletin states.

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“I am proud of what has been accomplished by the Zoo and Zoological Society over the past decade and I am confident that they will continue to expand their mission-based programs and overall positive impact on the community in the future. “, commented Lovett.

Shara Rapoza, who was deputy director of zoological services, will serve as acting director, pending approval of her appointment by the city council. The chief executive position will be posted soon, said Mike Lawrence, spokesman for the mayor’s office.

Standard-Times digital producer Linda Roy can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @LindaRoy_TBS. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to the Standard-Times.

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