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Honolulu Zoo’s new director has Hawaii ties

  • COURTESY PHOTOJeffrey Wilkinson has been selected as to be the new administrator for the zoo
    COURTESY PHOTO
    Jeffrey Wilkinson has been selected as to be the new administrator for the zoo

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Wednesday late afternoon that the Honolulu Zoo has a new director.

Jeffrey Wilkinson has been selected as the new administrator for the zoo, effective April 1.

"Jeffrey has strong management, marketing, and operations experience and we are happy to bring him home to Oahu," Caldwell said in a news release. "One of Jeffrey’s initial responsibilities will be to work toward the zoo’s reaccreditation in 2016."  

Wilkinson will be returning to Honolulu after serving as chief operating officer of nonprofit St. John’s Program for Women and Children in Sacramento, Calif. since 2011. Previously, he served as college director at ITT Technical Institute and president of Menco, Inc. which sells consumable products to retailers. In total, he has more than 20 years of experience in executive roles.

Wilkinson is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Punahou School. 

Every zoo in the United Stated must complete a thorough accreditation process every five years through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The accreditation ensures zoos meet animal management and care standards, including living environments, social groupings, health, and nutrition. The Honolulu Zoo’s accreditation is up for renewal in 2016.

The zoo’s last director, Jeffrey Mahon, announced his resignation in late December, less than six months after starting the job. Mahon cited personal reasons for his departure from the zoo post. Mahon, who has an extensive background working at aquariums and other underwater facilities, was chosen from a field of 40 after former director Manuel Mollinedo resigned effective March 1, 2013. Mollinedo also cited personal reasons. 

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