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Executive director of San Francisco Zoo resigns

June 7, 2008 |  6:41 pm

Tatiana_escaped_from_her_grotto_lasThe San Francisco Chronicle reports that Manuel Mollinedo has resigned as the executive director of the San Francisco Zoo, shaking up the zoo's beleaguered management staff nearly six months after a tiger, pictured at right, escaped and killed a teenage visitor.

The announcement comoes amid high turnover among zoo employees and what some keepers described as abysmal morale. The San Francisco Zoological Society, the nonprofit organization that oversees zoo operations for the city, announced the resignation Friday evening.

Tanya McVeigh Peterson, a lawyer who serves on the zoo society board of directors and is an active fundraiser for the institution, has been appointed interim director. Carl Friedman, head of the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control, will be temporarily deployed to the zoo, at least part time, to help with animal welfare and management issues, according to Mayor Gavin Newsom's office.

Mollinedo became director of the 100-acre facility in February 2004 after running the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for 1 1/2 years and the Los Angeles Zoo for seven years before that.

The San Francisco Zoological Society provided no details on what led to Mollinedo's departure other than saying he plans to retire in the Bay Area.

Photo: Associated Press

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