NEW ZOO LEADER: Susan Altrui City of LR

City Manager Bruce Moore has chosen Acting Little Rock Zoo Director Susan Altrui from three finalists to be the permanent director.

She’ll be paid $110,000.


Altrui joined the Zoo as marketing director in 2005, rose to assistant director and became acting director on Mike Blakely’s retirement earlier this year.

The other finalists were Roger Sweeny of Norfolk, Va., and Norah Fletchall of Indianapolis.


In a release, Moore said:

“Our goal is for the Little Rock Zoo to become one of the top mid-sized city zoos in the country,” Moore said.

“Susan is the person to get us there because of her experience, dedication and vision. I’m excited to have her leading the Zoo as it continues its growth as a world-class institution focused on education, conservation and recreation.”

The release noted Altrui had raised money for he Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe exhibit, the Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost, Diamond Express Train and the Arkansas Heritage Farm exhibit, which opened in April of this year.


It also sasid Altrui served as project manager for a new master plan and strategic plan. She also worked on the Zoo accreditation by attending hearings on three separate occasions before the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Committee. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from Arkansas State and Colorado State, respectively.

The zoo started 90 years ago with two animals — an abandoned timber wolf and a circus bear. Today it has 700 animals of 200 species and draws 300,000 visitors. It participates in the AZA Species Survival plan.

Altrui said she hopes to enhance conservation education and continue zoo renovations.