Radoslaw Ratajszczak is a Zoo Director of Wroclaw ZOO since 2007, previously a vice-director of Poznan ZOO, member of EAZA and WAZA Council as well as three Committees of EAZA. Radoslaw is a true ZOO builder. His deep knowledge of animal biology and behaviour, involvement in conservation and education results on very successful planned and executed constructions of numerous new and upgraded facilities both in Poznan and Wroclaw zoos ranging from small but important improvements to large scale developments like Elephant House at Poznan ZOO and Africarium in Wroclaw (visited by 1,6 million visitors last year).
Jon Coe was among the first to call himself a zoo designer. He has developed the field and inspired many people in all aspects of zoo planning and design with his countless presentations, articles and designs. Jon Coe has over 50 years experience with over 160 planning and design projects for 82 zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, theme parks, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in fifteen nations on six continents.
Becca Hanson is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and founding director of both The Portico Group in 1983 and Studio Hanson/Roberts in 2003. Both firms were established to provide highly-personalized expertise for the planning and design of intriguing and delightful learning experiences in the company of living plants and animals. Having worked with zoos and aquariums for over 35 years and completed over 120 projects in 13 countries, she has participated in the massive changes that have occurred – and continue to occur – as we all learn more about the science of behavioral ecology, welfare and resilience, and as she has honed her own professional practice to focus on effecting conservation by design.
Erik van Vliet started working as a zoo keeper at Wassenaar Zoo in the Netherlands when he was twelve years old. He studied landscape design and biology at Art School Kampen and University of Amsterdam with the aim of becoming a zoo designer. He still believes that storytelling is at the heart of what a zoo should offer its visitors. The first assignment was at Beekse Bergen Safaripark where the traditional style drive through park was converted into a modern wildlife park. Erik has also a soft spot for the classical urban zoos. There is no discrepancy between state of the art zoo design techniques and historical environments. Last but not least he is into making something good from something bad in a cost-effective way. His book ‘Exhibiting Zoo Animals’, a self-help zoo design guide, was published in 2015.
Kieran Stanley studied architecture in Dublin and is founder and Creative Director of dan pearlman Experience Architecture, Berlin.
Specialising early in the development of Zoos, he worked on the Masterplan for the Hannover Zoo from 1995 onward. He has developed the amphibious safari and the Panda World environment at Everland Resort, South Korea, setting new global standards for Giant Pandas; Master planning for several Zoos and Parks worldwide, specifically in China, UK, Italy, Denmark and Germany, most recently completing the Masterplans for both Berlin Zoos parallel. In 2015, he developed „Islands“ for Chester Zoo, England’s largest and most ambitious zoo development yet.
Kieran does not see himself as just an architect, moreover a strategic partner working integratively and holistically to create relevancy and a sustainable path forward for each zoo.
Monika Fiby graduated in landscape ecology and landscape planning with her thesis “Evaluating Zoo Design – The Importance of Visitor Studies” in 1991. She became a project manager in the department of road construction of the city of Vienna where she learned to handle huge projects with lots of stakeholders and their conflicting needs. In 2000, she quit her position as a city official, launched the ZooLex website and started her own business as a zoo designer. Monika runs ZooLex, gives design workshops, works as a consultant for zoos like Paris, Helsinki, Zagreb, Pretoria and Saint Petersburg, and develops her own projects for various animal facilities. By using her moderation and planning skills, she assists zoos and similar institutions in fulfilling their tasks regarding conservation, education, recreation, and sustainability.
Simon is currently the Executive Director of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust and of South West Environmental Parks Ltd, a charitable organisation based in the south-west of the UK, which owns Paignton and Newquay zoos, the Living Coasts exhibit in Torquay and three nature reserves in Devon. He graduated in Zoology from the University of Bristol in 1980 and his subsequent career included the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, where he was a herpetologist, and the Zoological Society of London. His career also includes two years training as an accountant, which left him sadder but much wiser. He is a past chairman of both the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and sits on the board of two conservation charities in southern Africa. He is a serious birder and interested in all aspects of natural history and conservation.
Marc Damen (*1971) started as a rhino keeper in Safaripark Beekse Bergen when 17 years old. After University he worked for the EAZA Executive Office, as assistant director of Monde Sauvage Safari in Belgium, curator and spokesperson of Burgers’ Zoo, Arnhem and director of Zodiac Zoos and coordinated the Giraffe EEP for 8 years. From 2008 to 2016 Marc was CEO of Royal Rotterdam Zoo, which he made financially healthy by reducing costs and investing in new exhibits. Rotterdam Zoo became The Netherlands’ most frequented zoo (over 1.5 million visitors annually). Today Marc is chairman and spokesperson of the Dutch Zoo Federation, member of the EEP Committee and the EAZA Screening Team, and mentor for Candidates for Membership. Since 1986 Marc visited well over 1,000 zoos all around the globe.
Douglas Richardson is currently the Head of Living Collections at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park. He has been working in zoos around the world since 1975, with much of his career focused upon the husbandry of carnivores, population management and novel animal enclosure design. Prior to moving back to Scotland, Douglas held senior positions in zoological institutions in Singapore, British Columbia, Italy and London and has consulted on a range of zoo design projects throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, India, Russia and Tunisia.
Jake trained as a zoologist before gaining a masters degree in applied animal behaviour and animal welfare science and a doctorate in behavioural ecology. Outside of academia, Jake has nearly two decades of experience as a zoological director in some of the largest zoos in Europe and North America. He has published extensively on zoo animal welfare and carried out research in areas as diverse as elephant welfare management and assessment, understanding what a zoo giraffe might miss (if anything) about its native habitat having never experienced it, through to why birds lay the number of eggs they do; solving an ecological enigma first identified by Charles Darwin. Jake’s research background and practical experience managing and designing habitats for wild animals has resulted in numerous innovations in the management and housing of wild animals.