A former Denver Zoo official with extensive experience at Disney’s animal theme park in Florida has been chosen to lead the Sacramento Zoo.
Dr. Kyle Burks has been named director and chief executive officer of the Sacramento Zoological Society. He was selected following a nationwide search by the society’s board of trustees to succeed Mary Healy, who was director for 15 years until her death in August, according to a news release from the zoo.
“We are impressed with Kyle’s background and vision for the future, and we feel he will bring renewed passion, energy and innovation to our community jewel,” board President Jeff Raimundo said in a written statement.
Burks, who will start his job at the Sacramento Zoo on June 15, joined the Denver Zoo as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2008 and oversaw day-to-day operations, including veterinary and daily care of animals, education, conservation and human resources. He served as interim president and chief executive officer for several months until February 2014.
He helped open Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in 1997. He held several positions at the animal park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, including training operations managers to work with animals and managing a wildlife tracking center. He holds a bachelor’s degree in experimental psychology from Texas A&M University and master’s and doctorate’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to work at Sacramento Zoo, a community treasure that has inspired wonder and awe for 88 years,” Burks said in a written statement.