Welcome to Brendan Wiley, the new Director of the Cameron Park Zoo!

Published on November 26, 2023

Brendan Wiley, new Cameron Park Zoo Director

The City of Waco is pleased to announce the selection of Brendan Wiley as the Director of the Cameron Park Zoo, effective November 27, 2023.

A review committee led by members of the City of Waco, the Cameron Park Zoological Society, and a member of another AZA-accredited zoo completed an extensive search process that included a rigorous and thorough evaluation of well-qualified candidates. The committee found that Brendan’s skills, experiences, and expertise prepared him to successfully guide the Cameron Park Zoo in its next phase of growth.

When asked what he’s looking forward to as the new Director of the Cameron Park Zoo, Brendan shared, "You only have to be in Waco for a minute to realize how valued the Cameron Park Zoo is by the community. I felt that. I can't wait to get started. The future of the Cameron Park Zoo is bright and full of opportunity. I'm truly looking forward to working for the City of Waco, getting to know the Cameron Park Zoo team, and working with the Society to inspire dreams and continue the Cameron Park Zoo journey."

Brendan began his career in the zoo field as a zookeeper at the Kansas City Zoo in 1994, where he worked with a wide variety of animals, including birds, sea lions, and elephants, and eventually was responsible for about half of the 212-acre zoo’s staff and animal collection.

In 2005, Brendan left the Kansas City Zoo to become the Executive Director of Animal Haven, a nonprofit animal shelter on the Kansas side of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. At Animal Haven, Brendan was responsible for fundraising, fiscal responsibility, and organizational optimization through programmatic development.

Most recently, Brendan serves as the Director of the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center. Since his arrival at the zoo in 2010, attendance has grown by 159%, the operating budget has grown by 267%, and during the period between 2017-2022, $21 million of infrastructure projects have been developed. He also supported their recent re-accreditation with AZA.

City Manager Bradley Ford shared, “The City of Waco is confident that the Cameron Park Zoo’s success, along with its exceptional animal care and management standards, will continue to flourish under his leadership. We are excited to welcome Brendan to Waco. Additionally, I want to thank Deputy Zoo Director Duane Hills for his leadership in serving as the Interim during this process.”

Cameron Park Zoological Society Board President Nancy Lacy stated, “The Zoological Society appreciates the collaboration in this process and is excited about the selection of Brendan Wiley. His background and experience are a strength to this leadership role, and I look forward to the work we get to do together.”


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