Ron Kagan has once again proven his mettle. Two years ago, he nearly committing career suicide by making sure two aging and ailing elephants had their lives enriched and lengthened via transfer from frigid Detroit to a sunny California sanctuary. His selfless and courageous actions angered the AZA and many of his zoo director brethren—many of whom called for his head. Yet, he perservered.
This past week, he endured more conflict and scrutiny, this time, admittedly, of his own doing, yet brought to light by his enemies. Thankfully, the Detroit Zoological Society Board, led by a wise and honorable Chairman in Gail Warden, voted to retain their director of 15 years.
If you know Ron Kagan as I do, and, further, count him among your friends, it is not hard to understand the outpouring of support this week, from the Board, community leaders and beyond. What he has accomplished during his tenure has enriched all of our lives and, most importantly, the lives of the thousands of animals that he and his staff have cared for at the Detroit Zoo. The safety and welfare of those animals and, in turn, conservation education, is what he lives for. The rest of us truly benefit as a result.