BUZZ Blog: Former Duluth zoo director gets new job
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Peter Passi and Brandon Stahl cover issues related to the city of Duluth. Follow BUZZ on Twitter.
New zoo for Janis
Mike Janis, former director of the Lake Superior Zoo, has just been tapped to lead the Mill Mountain Zoo in Raonoke, Va., according to the Roanoke Times.
Janis served more than 10 years as the director of Duluth's zoo. The local zoo lost its accreditation from the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums several months after he left Duluth to take a job in Binghamton, N.Y. Duluth has yet to regain that certification, although this remains an oft-repeated goal.
At the time of his departure, Janis expressed frustration with funding cuts to the Duluth zoo. He also was angered by what he viewed as subsequent efforts to make him a scapegoat for the Lake Superior Zoo's loss of accreditation later that year. He personally faulted Mayor Herb Bergson's administration for cutting funding and making it impossible to properly maintain the operation.
Janis said he had repeatedly warned Bergson and Carl Seehus, the city's parks and recreation director, that continued underfunding was putting the zoo's certification at risk. But both Bergson and Seehus said they were unaware that the zoo was in danger of losing its certification.
At any rate, Janis went on to lead the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park in Binghamton, N.Y., where he was publicly credited with helping that facility become reaccredited. Apparently the zoo lost its accreditation prior to Janis' arrival there. The Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton reported that Janis raised $500,000 for new exhibits and programs and increased the zoo's annual paid attendance from 37,000 to 59,000 over three years.
In January, however, Janis left Binghamton. No reason was given for his departure at the time.
Janis, age 63, must be one tough cookie, having survived open heart surgery and a bout with colon cancer, according to the Roanoke Times.
Here's wishing him well in Roanoke.