Zoo was lucky to have Fernandes’ leadership
The early retirement of Donna Fernandes as president of the Buffalo Zoo will be a significant loss to our community. Her leadership, vision and commitment to mission transformed the zoo from an institution that was on life support, and in imminent danger of losing its accreditation, to a best-in-class Western New York asset. We, collectively, are the beneficiaries of her boundless energy. The Arctic Edge Exhibit, the Rain Forest Pavilion, Sea Lion Cove, Otter Creek, Heritage Farm Children’s Zoo and the Bone Zone would not exist but for her relentless pursuit of excellence.
Less evident to the visitor, but of significant impact, are the educational, research and conservation projects that have an international impact, and that are part of her legacy. On the horizon is the metamorphosis of the 74-year-old Reptile House. It would be most appropriate for the board of directors of the Buffalo Zoo to establish, in perpetuity, very visible named recognition to honor Fernandes’ dedication, and in acknowledgement of her great deeds.
Stuart H. Angert