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Detroit Zoo director Ron KaganDetroit Zoo director Ron Kagan advocates for an approach which focuses on the animals’ quality of life.

Zookeeper to address future of compassionate conservation

Zoos have changed a lot in the 25 years he has been director of the Detroit Zoological Society, says Ron Kagan, and they will be radically different in the next 20.

He will discuss this vision in a lecture on the UWindsor campus Thursday, March 1.

“The animals’ needs and desires will be central, more than the visitors’ — just as it is in the wild,” Kagan says. “And zoos will look and act like what we might now assume a real sanctuary might be like.”

He will speak to professor Beth Daly’s class, “Animals for Sport and Entertainment,” at 10 a.m. in room 202, Toldo Health Education Centre, and she has opened the event to the campus community.

Under Kagan’s leadership, the Detroit Zoo in 2004 became the first major zoo to surrender its elephants, sending them to a sanctuary in recognition that the animals need more space and a warmer climate. More recently, the zoo announced plans to open a $10 million Great Lakes Nature Center, dedicated to the wildlife of the region.