The Oregon Zoo replaced its director and top veterinarian Monday. The zoo is run by Metro, the regional government for the Portland area.
Metro spokesman Jim Middaugh said he cannot comment on why director Kim Smith and veterinarian Mitch Finnegan are no longer working for the zoo.
“In the coming weeks and months we’ll be working with the zoo staff and the community to figure out what all our next steps are going to be. In the meantime, the zoo is in good hands,” he said.
Finnegan started working for the Oregon Zoo in 1993. Middaugh said four remaining staff veterinarians will continue to care for the animals.
Metro has tapped venue manager Teri Dresler to be the zoo’s interim director.
The zoo is under pressure from animal rights activists. They’ve called for the zoo’s elephants to be moved to a sanctuary, and have launched a campaign to have the 52-year-old elephant Packy written in as a candidate for Metro council.