The City of Los Angeles owns the Zoo, its land and facilities, and the animals. Animal care, grounds maintenance, construction, education, public information, and administrative staff are City employees. The Mayor of the City of Los Angeles is Eric Garcetti who began his first term in 2013. Located within the 4th City Council District, the Zoo is represented by Councilman Tom LaBonge. Since June, 2003, John Lewis has served as General Manager and Zoo Director. Mr. Lewis served as director of the John Ball Zoological Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1986 until his appointment to the Los Angeles Zoo. Lewis has also served as president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Board of Directors from 2001 to 2002.
The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) was created in 1963 as a private, nonprofit, fundraising organization to support the new Zoo. Today, GLAZA provides support through fundraising, membership, organizing special events and travel programs, producing award-winning publications, coordinating one of the largest zoo volunteer programs in the country, administering the contract for visitor services concessions within the Zoo, and supporting community relations, and public relations. GLAZA President Connie Morgan was appointed by the Board of Trustees in October 2002.
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens opened on November 28, 1966. The Zoo is home to more than 1,100 mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles representing more than 250 different species of which 29 are endangered. In addition, the Zoo’s botanical collection comprises several planted gardens and over 800 different plant species with over 7,400 individual plants. The Zoo receives over 1.5 million visitors per year and is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles. The daily management of the Zoo is overseen by Zoo Director John R. Lewis. The Zoo is credited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Elephants of Asia habitat includes features dedicated to the health and welfare of the elephants such as bathing pools, sandy hills, varied topography, enrichment opportunities, and a state of the art barn that is capable of caring for elephants of all ages. Elephants of Asia focuses on the rich connection between elephants and the cultures of Thailand, India, China, and Cambodia. The exhibit familiarizes guests with the challenges Asian elephants face in the wild, including their shrinking natural habitat, and gives visitors the opportunity to directly contribute to conservation programs that support elephants in their native countries.
Australia is home to the Zoo’s koalas. These marsupials (not bears) are displayed in the Australia section of the L.A. Zoo. The Zoo is fortunate in being one of only a handful that can provide an abundance of the appropriate eucalyptus tree species needed to feed the koalas. The koalas share two separate habitats with kangaroos, wallabies and echidnas.
Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains is lauded by world-renown primatologist Jane Goodall as one of the finest zoo habitats. This one-acre habitat is home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States. It is designed to resemble the native environment of Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains in Africa and is unique in size and scope complete with mountainous rock formations, waterfalls and streams, palm trees and soft green grass. The facility also features a chimpanzee penthouse with heated bedrooms for the apes and an outdoor playground that has a jungle gym.
Dragons of Komodo is home to a pair of Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizard. The habitat design depicts the native environment on islands off the coast of Indonesia.
Unique Animals: Sumatran tiger, Visayan warty pigs, yellow footed rock wallaby, Cape griffon vulture, Chacoan peccary, snow leopard, mandrill, okapi, mountain tapir, Coquerel’s sifaka and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world. Although not on display, the Zoo is also heavily involved with the conservation of California condors.