The executive director of the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville is moving on. Amos Morris has led the organization for eight years and is taking a new position with a zoo in California. Director of Operations Erik Beck, who has been with the zoo for 22 years, will serve as interim director.

Morris is leaving to become deputy director and chief operating officer of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. His last day will be June 30. Board President Steve Bugg says "on behalf of the Board of Directors we all wish Amos the best of luck in his future endeavors. The Society looks forward to partnering with the City of Evansville on searching for a new Zoo and Botanic Director who also serves as the Society’s Executive Director."

Officials say Morris has overseen several major initiatives throughout his time with the zoo, including helping raise millions of dollars for new exhibits and projects like the Engelbrecht Carousel. Mesker Park Zoo also says Morris helped lay the foundation for its budgie aviary and penguin environment.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says "I want to personally thank Amos for the positive improvements he has brought to Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden since coming to Evansville in 2009. His expertise in zoo management has been greatly appreciated, and his vision for the zoo's future has been extraordinary."