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The Zoo/Aquarium Video Archive Project: An Interview with the Pioneers

ZooAquariumProject1Emmy Award-winning producer and writer Loretta Caravette has teamed up with Curator Emeritus Mark Rosenthal of the Lincoln Park Zoo and Dr. Barbara Baker, CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, to chronicle the history of zoos and aquariums through an unprecedented collection of interviews with North America’s most distinguished zoo and aquarium directors. The video also highlights the current state of the industry and the future of ex situ conservation.

The Zoo & Aquarium Video Archive project provides insightful perspectives from the likes of Dr. William Conway, General Director Emeritus of the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society, and Bill Braker, Director Emeritus of the Shedd Aquarium and the first biologist and degree holding employee of the renowned aquarium facility.

I was graciously offered an early viewing of the video project, which has been in production since 2008.

As a career zoo and aquarium professional watching the interviews I found myself hanging on to every word uttered by these pioneers of an industry that caters to 180 million visitors a year.

Zoos and aquariums are more than just popular living collections and cultural attractions.  These natural history institutions are leaders in conservation and natural science and provide vital formal and informal learning opportunities for young people.  The project will undoubtedly serve as a valuable contribution to the conservation science community and will be of benefit to future generations held responsible as stewards of nature and global sustainability.

The archive will be housed at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium under the auspices of Dr. Barbara Baker and information will be available on the Zoo’s website in the near future.zoologo-workable-copy1



  1. Loretta Caravette
    Chicago, IL
    May 4, 2014, 3:20 pm

    We certainly will capture as many of these wonderful people from around the world.

    Just interview Dr. Christian Schmidt, Director Emeritus from the Frankfort Zoo. Hope to do more.

    Thank you for your comment.

  2. Louis R. DiSabato
    Director Emeritus, San Antonio Zoo
    February 12, 2014, 10:57 pm

    I have just had an opportunity to view a sample of an interview with one of the premier zoo directors of our time…Ed Maruska, Now Director Emeritus of the Cincinnati Zoo and am very much impressed with the professionalism and quality of the work of Mark Rosenthal and Caravette Productions.
    Ed was not only a friend but an esteemed colleague from the time we were keepers through the years we spent as Curators and then Zoo Directors of neighboring zoos, he at Cincinnati and I at Columbus Zoo.
    We grew up with great teachers and enjoyed the pleasures of working with animals and seeing where they live in their natural habitat and transferring that knowledge to our exhibits in our respective zoos for the education and enjoyment our our visitors.
    I look forward to seeing more of the Video Archive Project and hope the Directors of the future will review absorb the knowledge offered by these interviews.

  3. Duncan Bourne
    September 9, 2013, 2:42 am

    As a zoo professional who worked in europe, north america and australasia it is wonderful to see this initiative to capture the wisdom of true visionary leaders of our profession. Hopefully, they will not stop at Directors but also include other key figures, and other regions will take up this idea.