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The Conversation: Honolulu Zoo Past, Present and Future

Daniel Ramirez / Flickr
Daniel Ramirez / Flickr
/

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. 

Catherine Cruz is the Host of The Conversation and a member of HPR’s news team. She has been a television reporter in Hawai‘i since 1983 and has won a number of awards and respect from a statewide audience. She spent more than thirty years at KITV, covering beats from government to education and health. Originally from Guam, Cruz is also a co-founder and former Board member and programming chair of Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC). Catherine is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
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