Bristol Zoological Society has welcomed a new Chief Executive - Dr Justin Morris.
Bristol-born Dr Morris, who has taken over the helm from Dr Bryan Carroll, will be responsible for the Society, Bristol Zoo Gardens, in Clifton, and Wild Place Project, in Easter Compton.
His arrival coincides with an exciting period for the Society’s two popular attractions.
Wild Place Project is due to begin work on a 7.5 acre Bear Wood exhibit to open in the summer of 2019, which will see the return of brown bears, wolves, lynx and wolverine to ancient woodland on its’ site.
It will be the only place in the UK where brown bears and wolves will live together and will offer a unique viewing experience to guests of all ages.
Its sister attraction, Bristol Zoo Gardens, is also at an important moment in its 182-year history as the Society considers how to ensure the continuing success of this much-loved attraction.
In particular, how to bring people closer to its animals as well as its research and conservation projects both in the south west and across the globe. Dr Morris will be leading the development of a new strategy for the Society and the Gardens in the coming months.
The 44-year-old, who has lived in Whitchurch and Westerleigh, said: “I’m joining Bristol Zoological Society at a hugely exciting time and I am looking forward to contributing towards the growth of each attraction, whilst ensuring the ongoing success of our conservation and learning programmes.
“What is very clear to me is that both sites are loved and enjoyed by guests of all ages. Not only are our animals bringing people closer to nature but people are also walking away from a visit with a better understanding of how they can help us to save wildlife together.
“It has always been and will continue to be our aim to educate people about how we can all play a key role in protecting and conserving threatened species across the world.”
Dr Morris who has held senior positions at The British Museum, The Natural History Museum and the Somerleyton Estate in East Anglia, has spent the last few months meeting and working with staff across at the Society.
He said: “Our work goes much deeper than animal care and managing and maintaining our sites.
“Behind-the-scenes we have experts who care so passionately not only about the animals in our care but also about research and conservation across the world. We want visitors to feel this as soon as they walk through our gates and throughout their experience.”
Dr Morris, who officially started his role on 1 August, is looking forward to continuing to meet guests at Wild Place Project and Bristol Zoo Gardens as well as forming key relationships with organisations and individuals in the city and across the region.
He takes over the role from Dr Bryan Carroll who has retired after serving 22 years at Bristol Zoological Society.