Bristol Zoological Society’s chief executive announces retirement
After a career spanning 40 years, with highlights that include helping to save numerous animal species from extinction, Bristol Zoological Society’s chief executive is retiring.
Dr Bryan Carroll has been chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society for the past eight years. He arrived at Bristol Zoo in 1995 as operations manager and later became deputy director.
Prior to that he worked at Jersey Zoo for 18 years, during which time he completed his doctorate on the South American Goeldi’s monkey.
At Bristol Zoo he has overseen the opening of many new exhibits, such as Seal & Penguin Coasts, Twilight World, Bug World, Gorilla Island and the recent opening of the Zoo’s dedicated Conservation Education Centre.
He has also developed the Zoological Society’s conservation, scientific and educational work as well as being the driving force behind the opening of Wild Place Project (which is also owned and operated by the Bristol Zoological Society) which opened in 2013 and last year attracted more than 200,000 visitors.
Bryan’s curiosity for the natural world began as a youngster, playing in rock pools and catching small fish and shrimps while on holiday. “I was always fascinated by wildlife and I suppose I’ve simply never lost that interest,” he explains.
At school Dr Carroll focused on scientific subjects before studying zoology at Liverpool University. “I studied everything from corals to gorillas and loved it,” he recalls. After university he got a job at Jersey Zoo as a stopgap while he decided on his future career.
“At the end of the first week I realised how much I had enjoyed it, it was a real ‘wow’ moment,” said Bryan.
That ‘stopgap’ job turned into a 42-year career full of highlights and lifelong memories. High on his list of achievements was the vital research he carried out on rare fruit bats in the wild, which undoubtedly helped prevent these majestic creatures from becoming extinct.