The Detroit Zoo has a new director, and for the first time since it opened 93 years ago, a woman will be calling the shots.

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The Detroit Zoological Society on Tuesday named  Hayley W. Murphy as its director and chief executive officer. Murphy, a veterinarian who has been deputy director of Zoo Atlanta, will begin her new job on November 1 according to a press release. Murphy will be replacing executive director and CEO Ron Kagan, who is retiring after 28 years with the zoo.

Dr.Murphy has all the special qualities and experience the DZS was looking for when searching for someone to take on the important role at the 125 acre Michigan attraction. Dr. Murphy has 30 years of zoo experience and extensive involvement with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She is also one of the country’s leading experts in gorilla cardiac health, Dr. Murphy is also Director of the Great Ape Heart Project, an innovative, international, multi-institutional effort – in which the Detroit Zoological Society is an active participant.

“Hayley is an incredibly successful and respected leader who is often praised for being a strong listener, investing in relationships and showing compassion in all that she does. Not only is she a superb zoo executive, her accomplishments as a scientist will allow the DZS to continue growing as a leading animal and environmental research institution,” said Board Chair Tony Earley in a DZS release.

Dr. Murphy is equally excited about the big move north and her history making role with the Detroit Zoo as the first female director saying,

“I am thrilled to join the Detroit Zoological Society and to work with such a dedicated board of directors, Zoo staff and the Greater Detroit community to continue the history of excellence and innovation for which the Detroit Zoo is known. Animal welfare, education, research and community engagement are critical to the future of our planet, and I am excited to lead an organization so clearly aligned with this mission,” said Murphy. “My family and I are looking forward to living in the Detroit area and becoming part of this progressive and diverse community.”

Although summer is coming to an end, there is still plenty of perfect weather days to head to the Detroit Zoo.

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