New Milwaukee County Zoo Director Explores The Purpose & Importance Of Zoos
Amos Morris has wanted to work with animals since he was a child. Although he didn’t always know what that would look like, in college he met an animal curator who inspired him to pursue the career.
“I was a junior in college. I sat down with him and started talking about what he did for a living and by the end of the conversation I said to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” Morris recalls.
Now, after a long career as a zookeeper, curator and manager of zoos around the country, Morris is joining the Milwaukee County Zoo as its new director. While working with animals was always his goal, he says his work as a director has been the best way to truly care for them.
Morris explains, “As I learned more about leadership and animal care and the position, I figured out the best way to effect good animal care is to manage people. You have to be a people manager.”
He hopes to foster an environment of curiosity at the zoo, where guests are excited to interact with animals and observe them. Morris says there are many things we can learn from watching animals, including difficult lessons about life and loss.
“I really learned how to deal with death by watching how animals interact at the zoo. You know, the zoo — everything is born, things live their life and things die,” he says.
Morris will be the first Black director of the Milwaukee County Zoo and he believes that his being there can show kids that this kind of leadership position is attainable. Morris says one of the most important lessons we can take from the zoo is the importance of diversity — among animals and humans.