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One-on-one with the first female Executive Director at the Detroit Zoo

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 19:27:43-05

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — The same old passion and care for every animal's well-being at the Detroit Zoo is now accompanied by a new presence.

“Dr. Murphy what does it feel like to be the first female director?” asked WXYZ’s Glenda Lewis.

“It’s pretty amazing, it’s a real testament to this community and the zoological society that they put a woman in charge of such an amazing facility,” said Dr. Hayley Murphy.

Introducing Dr. Hayley Murphy, the first woman in the Detroit Zoo's 93 years of operation to become Executive Director and CEO (Chief Executive Officer).

“The shoes to fill with your touch and coming from a first female perspective, how do you think you will be able to go about things,” asked Lewis.

“I think whether I was a woman or a man, I bring a different perspective. My background is in science and research and animal welfare,” said Dr. Murphy.

“Ron Kagan (retired Detroit Zoo Executive Director) built this world-class facility and I certainly intend to continue that tradition,” Dr. Murphy added.

It is a tradition that Dr. Murphy hopes can set a trend for the future.

“Being a role model especially to young girls who want to go into science and want to become leaders of the future and I think it's really important and I'm so thankful and grateful to the Detroit Zoological Society for recognizing that,” Dr. Murphy added.

“It is time for women to take their role in society in leading organizations, especially organizations that connect people to nature,” said Dr. Murphy.

Dr. Murphy says her first mission as Director is to make sure the Detroit Zoo remains a healthy environment that families can enjoy, and she hopes it will also help teach families that the health of our society.

“Connecting kids, especially urban kids, they might not ever see a wolf,” said Dr. Murphy.

“They might not ever go to Africa or Asia or Australia but to come here and see an animal up close, not just in image or TV or video game but to actually see and connect and look into the eyes of that animal that's incredibly impactful creates that empathy and that caring,” Murphy added.

"It’s beyond the animals' needs and beyond one environmental need it is the globe that circle of life and how important that is and telling it in a way to understand and care,” said Dr. Murphy.

"And really for people to care they have to understand how it impacts them and that's our job. That's the job of the zoo and connect people to that and translate that story,” Dr. Murphy added.