The Conversation: Honolulu Zoo Past, Present and Future

Dec 9, 2019

Today, we take a trip to the Honolulu Zoo. Its accreditation is up in the air. Its revolving door of zoo directors has been part of its problem. Funding is the other. Its location in Waikiki has long been debated. Today we look back at its history as we look toward its future. The zoo opened its doors in 1915. It  marks its 105th anniversary next year, as a national accreditation team comes to visit. We asked a number of people familiar with its past and present to join us in our studio for a roundtable discussion. The spark for this show was a book about the zoo’s history compiled by the late Paul Breese - the longest serving zoo director in its history. He died a year ago. In our studio we had:

  • Jean DeMercer-Breese. She along with her late husband co-authored and self-published book The HONOLULU ZOO Waikiki’s Wildlife Treasure 1915-2015. She lives in North Kohala on the Big Island;
  • Ken Redman, who retired from the Honolulu Zoo as the second longest serving director; 
  • Marlee Breese, who serves on the board of the Honolulu Zoo Society and happens to be Paul’s daughter.