What’s New At The Honolulu Zoo


Linda Santos Selected As New Honolulu Zoo Director

Monday, September 25, 2017
Press Office: 768-5768
Linda Santos selected as new Honolulu Zoo director

Linda Santos (with lei) stands next to Mayor Caldwell at today’s press conference.

Honolulu – Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today that Linda Santos has been selected as the new director of the Honolulu Zoo, the first female director in the zoo’s history.

“Linda Santos’s love for the zoo, its staff, and the animals is clear,” said Mayor Caldwell. “She’s made a positive impact on our zoo for over three decades, from her years as an animal keeper through her recent service as assistant zoo director. She knows the people, she knows the exhibits, and she knows the zoo’s strengths and its challenges. Her vast experience will help lead the zoo’s effort to seek reaccreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.”

“The Honolulu Zoo has been the passion of my career and it is an honor to be the new zoo director,” said Santos. “I love watching families from O‘ahu and around the world learn about animals and conservation every day at our zoo, and I am looking forward to working hard to ensure our zoo has a successful future.”

“Linda knows the zoo and what it takes to properly run the zoo,” said Executive Director of the Honolulu Zoo Society David Earles. “The Honolulu Zoo Society has been working closely with Linda in crafting successful programs, events and initiatives to support the zoo. We look forward to her leadership to strengthen and enhance our partnership, ensuring a successful future for the Honolulu Zoo.”

Linda Santos has worked for the Honolulu Zoo for over 31 years. She started in 1986 as a trainee in the bird section and in the zoo commissary preparing food and organizing diet cards for the animals. She worked as an animal keeper from 1986 to 2008, a bird specialist from 2008 to 2011, and the zoo’s general curator from 2012 to 2015. She served as the zoo’s assistant zoo director since July 2015.

“Having worked with Linda for over 25 years, I am very proud of her accomplishment, as she has dedicated her life to the Honolulu Zoo,” added Tommy Higashino, retired assistant director for the Honolulu Zoo. “She has proven herself to be a compassionate, capable and trusted leader and is a true success story and inspiration for the zoo.”

The Honolulu Zoo Director is a civil service position, not a mayoral appointed position. Santos was selected through the civil service hiring process by the Department of Enterprise Services and her position does not require City Council approval.

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