01/10/2017 - Today the City of Albuquerque and ABQ BioPark announced the arrival of Dr. Baird Fleming as the BioPark's new deputy chief executive. A doctor of veterinary medicine, Fleming previously served as director of the Honolulu Zoo.
Dr. Fleming joins a BioPark team led by Chief Executive James T. (J.T.) Allen. Allen maintains overall administrative authority for the BioPark and is directing implementation of master plan projects at the attraction, which is New Mexico's most visited cultural institution. Dr. Fleming is responsible for guiding the daily operations and welfare of animals, plants and fish, conservation, education initiatives and more.
"The implementation of the BioPark master plan is a huge undertaking as we strive to make the ABQ Bio Park a premiere conservation and education facility in the country," said Mayor Richard J. Berry. "I am excited to have such a talented and skilled team of professionals to help lead this great endeavor."
Dr. Fleming grew up in La Ceiba, Honduras, where his father was in charge of banana operations for Dole Fruit Company. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology at Emory University in Atlanta. Thereafter, he returned to Honduras and worked in dolphin research at the Institute of Marine Sciences before relocating to Tampa, Fla., and worked at Lowry Park Zoo.
A passion for animals and conservation drew Fleming to enter the University of Florida's School of Veterinary Medicine, from which he graduated in 2007. He returned to Honduras and was hired as the director and veterinarian at the Roatan Zoo and Island Adventure. He has also served as the director of wildlife and veterinary care at Maya Key in Roatan and at Austin Savanna, a 1,200-acre research facility in Texas.
"Dr. Fleming's vast experience and knowledge will be of utmost value to continuing the high level of animal welfare, conservation and education we practice at the BioPark," said Allen. "As we embark on an exciting new phase of capital improvements and renovations, Baird will ensure our living collections have the best care, that our guest experiences are second to none, and that our conservation mission is carried forward."
Owned and operated by the City of Albuquerque, the ABQ BioPark is approximately 150 acres and includes the Aquarium and Botanic Gardens (54 acres), Tingley Beach (33 acres) and the Zoo (64 acres). With more than 1.2 million visitors annually, the ABQ BioPark remains the top tourist destination in New Mexico.
The City's Cultural Services Department oversees the operations of the ABQ BioPark. The New Mexico BioPark Society supports the city in its operation of the ABQ BioPark. The society is "dedicated to the development of, procurement for, and capital improvement of the BioPark and to providing a quality facility through the support of related conservation, education and recreation programs." Together, the city and society have partnered to develop a number of exhibits and programs that continue to build the BioPark's reputation.
The ABQ BioPark is an accessible facility and a division of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. CSD also oversees the Albuquerque Museum, the Albuquerque Balloon Museum, the 18 public libraries in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, KiMo Theatre, free community events such as Freedom 4th, and much more. The ABQ BioPark is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a member of the American Public Gardens Association. For more information, visit www.abqbiopark.com or call 311 locally or 505-768-2000 (Relay NM or 711).