Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zoo gives top job to Craig Pugh, the executive who led drive to regain accreditation

TAMPA — The man who led the Lowry Park Zoo back to accreditation after a public scandal has been chosen as its new chief executive officer.

The Lowry Park Zoological Society Board said Craig A. Pugh became the clear choice after a national search.

Pugh, the zoo's deputy director since 2005, came to Lowry Park in 1999 from his previous job as executive director for the Palm Beach Zoo, a news release from the board said.

He took over as the zoo's acting CEO following the resignation of Lex Salisbury in December 2008. Salisbury stepped down after it was revealed that he bought, traded, loaned and received more than 200 zoo animals for his Pasco County ranch and a private Polk county exotic animal park he was building.

The animal transfers cost the zoo its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

But the 60-acre park, which features a collection of 2,000 animals, was reaccredited in March under Pugh's leadership.

He said he intends to focus on enhancing animal care while keeping the zoo fresh for visitors.

"We're able to exhibit [animals] mostly outdoors year round, and we can also manage animals from Asia, Africa, Australia and South America because of our unique geography," Pugh said.

The zoo will emphasize animals facing extinction in the wild, and do what it can to preserve the species, he said.

The process has already begun, Pugh said. In the coming weeks the children's zoo will be getting yellow-footed rock wallabies, which are rarely seen in zoos and listed as a threatened species.

"They'll seem like small kangaroos to the children," he said.

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or rmitchell@sptimes.com.

Zoo gives top job to Craig Pugh, the executive who led drive to regain accreditation 02/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2010 11:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tributes pour in for ex-national security adviser Brzezinski

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  2. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)
  3. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  4. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  5. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)