Houston Zoo Director Rick Barongi Elected to Association of Zoos and Aquariums Board of Directors

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The membership of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has elected Rick Barongi, Director of the Houston Zoo, to the AZA Board of Directors.

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AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will benefit from Rick’s strong leadership and extensive experience

The membership of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has elected Rick Barongi, Director of the Houston Zoo, to the AZA Board of Directors.

“AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will benefit from Rick’s strong leadership and extensive experience,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy.

Barongi will serve on the AZA Board of Directors as one of its thirteen members. Barongi will be involved in every aspect of the national organization, including accreditation, ethics, animal welfare, and conservation.

A self-described zoo keeper’s zoo director, Rick’s love of animals was nurtured at an early age with visits to the Bronx Zoo and the Museum of Natural History. He was appointed Director of the Houston Zoo in 2000 and led the efforts to privatize the Zoo in 2002. Before his appointment as Houston Zoo Director, Rick was Director of Animal Programs for the Walt Disney World Company where he played a major role in the design, construction and opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Rick is actively involved in several national and international conservation programs including tapir and amphibian projects in Panama and rhino conservation programs in South Africa. He is Vice President of the International Rhino Foundation and serves on the boards of the Margot Marsh Biodiversity fund, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group, Chair of The National Elephant Center, Council member for WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and chairs AZA’s Honor and Awards Committee.

An accomplished eco-tour leader, Rick has traveled extensively in Africa and South America and has led numerous safaris to East and South Africa. A long-standing Professional Fellow of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Rick’s published professional papers cover a wide range of topics including exhibit design, animal husbandry, and the role of zoos in conservation and edu-tainment.

In his spare time, Rick collects natural history books, is an amateur wildlife photographer, and takes long walks with his wife, Diane, and their yellow labs.

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, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA 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 global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more visit http://www.aza.org.

Contact: Linda Cendes, AZA, 301.562.0777 x236

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