Christopher Kuhar of Strongsville is the new director of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Kuhar will begin his new position in January following the retirement of longtime director Steve Taylor.
"After an extensive national search, we vetted a deep pool of qualified zoological professionals and found the best candidate in our own backyard," Metroparks Executive Director Brian Zimmerman said in a news release.
Kuhar becomes the tenth director in the Zoo's 130-year history, taking over for Taylor, who has served in that role for 24 years.
"Steve Taylor has been a great mentor to me and I hope to be able to build upon his many accomplishments," Kuhar said.
Originally from Lorain, Kuhar and his wife, Gayle, now live in Strongsville with their two children.
In his new role, Kuhar will be responsible for managing the zoo's extensive animal collection, as well as overseeing the daily operations of the facility. In addition, he will help implement the Zoo's master plan and integrate it into the larger strategic plan for Cleveland Metroparks.
Kuhar, 39, joined the zoo in 2008 as Curator of Primates and Small Mammals. His duties expanded and his title was changed to Curator of Animals in 2012.
Before that, he was the research manager at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, where he studied animal behavior for nearly five years. He previously worked as a research assistant at Zoo Atlanta from 2000 to 2003 and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo from 1997 to 2000.
Kuhar received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Akron in 1997, his Master of Science in zoology from Oklahoma State University in 2000 and his doctorate in experimental psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004.
Chris possesses a wealth of knowledge, exceptional talents and leadership that will continue to strengthen the zoo's important mission to connect people with wildlife," Zimmerman said.