WAZA Presidents

WAZA Presidents from 1935 to present

The Association began as a gathering of zoo directors in Basel, Switzerland in 1935, named the ‘International Association of Directors of Zoological Gardens’. Kurt Priemel, Director of Frankfurt Zoo, was appointed as the organisation’s first President. 

The Association was then officially re-established in the Netherlands in 1946 after WWII, and renamed the ‘International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens’ (IUDZG). Armand Sunier, Director of Amsterdam Zoo/ARTIS was appointed as President. 

In 1992, the organisation name changed to ‘IUDZG – World Zoo Organisation’ (WZO), and in 1998 it changed to ‘World Zoo Organisation’, removing the IUDZG prefix. In 2000, the organisation changed its name to today’s ‘World Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (WAZA). 

Year President Institution
1935-1939 Jurt Priemel Frankfurt Zoo
1946-1949 Armand Sunier Amsterdam Zoo
1950-1952 Heini Hediger Basel Zoo
1953-1955 Axel Reventlow Copenhagen Zoo
1956-1958 Walter Van den bergh Antwerp Zoo
1959-1961 Freeman Shelly Philadelphia Zoo
1962-1964 George Mottershead Chester Zoo
1956-1967 Ernst Lang Basel Zoo
1968-1970 Wilhelm Windecker Cologne Zoo
1971 Charles Schroeder San Diego Zoo
1972-1974 Zdeněk Veselovský Prague Zoo
1975-1977 Frank Brand National Zoological Gardens Pretoria
1978-1980 Colin Rawlins Zoological Society of London
1981-1983 Heinz-Georg Klös Berlin Zoo
1984-1986 Lester Fisher Lincoln Park Zoo
1987-1988 Dick van Dam Rotterdam Zoo
1989-1991 Roger Wheater Edinburgh Zoo
1992 Siegfried Seifert Leipzig Zoo
1993 Peter Karsten Calgary Zoo
1994-1995 Gunther Nogge Cologne Zoo
1996-1997 Palmer Krantz Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
1998-1999 Frederic Daman Antwerp Zoo
2000-2001 Willie Labuschagne National Zoological Gardens Pretoria
2002-2003 Alex Rübel Zurich Zoo
2004-2005 Ed McAlister Adelaide Zoo
2006-2007 Karen Sausman The Living Desert
2008-2009 Gordon McGregor Reid Chester Zoo
2010-2011 Mark Penning uShaka Sea World Durban
2012-2013 Jörg Junhold Leipzig Zoo
2014-2015 Lee Ehmke Houston Zoo
2015-2016 Susan Hunt Perth Zoo
2016-2019 Jenny Gray Melbourne Zoo
2020-2021 Theodore B. Pagel Cologne Zoo
2022-2023 Clément Lanthier Calgary Zoo
2023-2025 Karen Fifield Wellington Zoo

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

WAZA is a member of the following organisations:
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