Mayor announces new Louisville Zoo Director
Mayor Greg Fischer announced today the appointment of Daniel Maloney (Dan) as the new director of the Louisville Zoo. Maloney is only the fifth director in the Zoo’s 52-year history. His appointment comes after an extensive national search managed by the Chicago firm Gomez Partners.
“Dan has the experience and leadership skills to successfully move our world-class Zoo into the future,” said Mayor Fischer. “His passions for animal care and welfare, conservation and guest experience fuel a deep understanding of the multi-layered zoo world. He will be an asset to the Zoo and our community.”
Maloney has decades of experience within Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos. He comes to Louisville from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) in Jacksonville, Florida, where he has been the Deputy Zoo Director for Animal Care, Conservation and Wellness since 2010. In his role there, he helped raise funds for the JZG’s capital campaign, served as the Zoo’s point person with the AZA, planned and developed multi-million-dollar budgets and worked with staff to create unique guest experiences.
“I am thrilled to join the dedicated Louisville Zoo team, and to be part of Chief Vincent James’ exceptional Community Building portfolio,” said Maloney. “We will continue to further our community’s connections to nature and advancing conservation education throughout the Metro region. My top priorities are ensuring optimal animal care and welfare, delivering superior guest experiences, and providing a safe, inclusive space for our patrons. Accredited zoos and aquariums are essential centers for learning about wildlife and for sparking curiosity about animals from around the world. My wife Laura and I are so excited to make Louisville our new home.”
Maloney has served as General Manager for Life Sciences at Australia’s Melbourne Zoo, a Curator for the Wildlife Conservation Society and as Vice President and General Curator for the New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo, where he led the crew who remained behind during Hurricane Katrina. He’s also a proud and active Rotarian, having served as the president of the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville from 2019 to 2020.
He will assume the Zoo Director role in early October and replaces retiring Zoo director John Walczak, who has been with the Louisville Zoo for 36 years (including 17 as Zoo director). During Walczak’s time, the Zoo has added the award-winning Islands, Gorilla Forest and Glacier Run exhibits, each recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for excellence and innovation. Also, under Walczak’s leadership, the Zoo celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, as well as milestones in its Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center, which marked its 25th anniversary in 2015; the much-anticipated and important birth of male elephant calf Fitz; and the transport and care of wild-born, rescued polar bear, Qannik.
“Dan is a dedicated professional and innovative leader with a passion and drive for the mission of an AZA-accredited Zoo,” Walczak said. “He will lead the Zoo, the staff and its volunteers confidently into a new era. He will be a strong advocate for our community as well. I leave the Zoo in good hands, and I look forward to watching and supporting the growth of this treasured cultural asset into the future.”
As Zoo Director, Maloney will be responsible for shaping the Zoo’s vision, as well as overseeing the work of 120 full-time, 10 part-time and more than 100 seasonal employees.