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After 11 years of having elephants and giraffes as coworkers, Scott Barton is hanging up his safari hat as CEO of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Barton announced his retirement this week.

“I am very proud of our accomplishments over the past 11 years and am always impressed by the remarkable support for Fresno Chaffee Zoo from our community,” Barton said in a news release. “Our team’s mission has always been to provide the Central Valley with a sustainable, world-class zoo experience. I’m confident the next generation of leadership will continue this vision at the Zoo.”

The zoo named Barton CEO in 2009. He will stay through the fall to provide a transition to his successor.

Last year, more than 819,000 guests passed through the turnstiles. The zoo boasts 18,000 membership households.

Measure Z Leads to New Exhibits

“I am very proud of our accomplishments over the past 11 years and am always impressed by the remarkable support for Fresno Chaffee Zoo from our community.”Scott Barton, retiring CEO

Barton oversaw the implementation of the original Measure Z in 2004 and helped lead in its extension in 2014. Voters approved the county sales tax each time, directing one-tenth of a cent for zoo projects.

The zoo delivered with such exhibits as Sea Lion Cove, African Adventure, and the Dino Dig.

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo says Measure Z has raised $110 million over the last ten years.

Praise from All Around

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand commended Barton’s tenure.

“Scott has truly transformed Fresno Chaffee Zoo into one of California’s leading zoos and a first-class experience. A strong leader with a vibrant vision, Scott is deeply committed to the welfare of animals in his charge and he’s leaving big shoes to fill,” Brand said.

The zoo, which is run by the non-profit  Fresno Chaffee Zoo Corporation, says a nationwide search will be conducted for Barton’s replacement.

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