News Flash Home
The original item was published from 2/14/2023 11:10:55 AM to 2/14/2023 11:13:02 AM.

News Flash

News Releases

Posted on: February 14, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Texas Zoo Welcomes New Executive Director William Baker

The Texas Zoo exterior with sign featuring a wolf silhouette

VICTORIA, TEXAS – The Texas Zoo Board of Directors has chosen William K. Baker Jr. as their new executive director.

Baker brings 23 years of zoological management experience and 30 years of experience within the field of animal sciences, combined with a deep passion for promoting animal conservation and community involvement. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Bill as our new Executive Director,” said Sarah Hamman, Texas Zoo Board President. “He will bring experience, knowledge and a fresh air to our organization, which will help take our zoo to the next level. We feel very lucky to have found him and look forward to the new leadership he will bring.”

When Baker assumes the role of executive director on March 1, he will manage all day-to-day operations for the sole zoo within the Crossroads area. Baker will also lead fundraising programs, marketing and community engagement initiatives.

William Baker“I am very excited to be moving back home to my native Texas and to contribute to The Texas Zoo as it moves forward into a new era of growth to serve the region,” said Baker. “It is an honor and privilege to work with such a talented team and dedicated board.” 

Baker most recently served as Executive Director at Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary in Reno, Nevada. His prior experience includes leadership roles with the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Gulf Breeze, Florida; the Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, Virginia; the Abilene Zoo in Abilene, Texas; and the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, Texas. Baker earned his B.S. in wildlife management and participated in graduate studies at West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas.  

Baker will oversee and spearhead the development and implementation of a new master plan for the zoo, a process that the organization plans to start within the coming months. In addition, Baker, along with a board-appointed committee, will manage various site and exhibit construction projects throughout the zoo with help from federal American Rescue Plan Act funds distributed by the City of Victoria.

“The zoo is an important community resource for residents and visitors,” said City Manager Jesús A. Garza. “We look forward to working with the new executive director and the board of directors on the upcoming master plan and revitalization projects, which will help to fulfill the City’s goal of using ARPA funds for transformational projects with long-term benefits.”  

Baker succeeds Interim Executive Director Katlyn (Kay) Irwin, the Texas Zoo’s education manager.

About The Texas Zoo

Located within Riverside Park, close to historical downtown Victoria, The Texas Zoo was founded in 1957 as the South Texas Zoological Society and was dedicated as the Official National Zoo of Texas in June 1984. The zoo’s longstanding mission is to foster stewardship and advance conservation in Victoria and the surrounding Crossroads area through education, recreation, sciences, and action.

The Texas Zoo is home to over 70 species of animals, most native to Texas and South America. Many of the zoo’s residents are rescue animals that could not be returned to the wild or are a part of nationwide conservation efforts to help protect and foster growth of the species. The zoo is known for its conservation work and involvement in several Species Survival Plans (SSP) – including for the red wolf and ocelot, both native to Texas.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in News Releases

City of Victoria Municipal Court building

Candidate list finalized for City Council election; 3 seats uncontested

Posted on: February 16, 2024 | Last Modified on: August 31, 2021
Riverside Park duck pond gazebo

Duck pond ribbon-cutting, fishing event postponed due to weather

Posted on: February 14, 2024 | Last Modified on: August 31, 2021
Duane Crocker

New mayor to be sworn in Feb. 20

Posted on: February 9, 2024
Exterior of the public safety headquarters. A large two-story building with public safety logos

City nears groundbreaking for public safety headquarters

Posted on: February 7, 2024 | Last Modified on: August 31, 2021
Logo for the Bicentennial Ball presented by Prosperity Bank on April 13. Logo includes six flags.

Tickets selling out for Bicentennial Ball presented by Prosperity Bank

Posted on: February 6, 2024 | Last Modified on: August 31, 2021
Aerial view of a large carnival at the Victoria Community Center grounds.

City seeks residents’ input on Victoria Community Center improvements

Posted on: January 30, 2024 | Last Modified on: August 31, 2021
Riverside Park duck pond gazebo

City to host ribbon-cutting for Riverside Park duck pond

Posted on: January 30, 2024 | Last Modified on: August 31, 2021
People smiling and standing around a Municipal Court table.

Municipal Court plans extra court sessions for Warrant Resolution Month

Posted on: January 30, 2024 | Last Modified on: August 31, 2021
Five portrait headshots

Public Works announces certifications

Posted on: January 23, 2024
A gazebo overlook with railing lined by Christmas garland and surrounded by planter boxes

Duck pond reopens in Riverside Park

Posted on: December 15, 2023
Kids run and play in foam snowflakes. A woman holds a small child up high.

Merry on Main offers festive family fun

Posted on: December 12, 2023