The director of the Minnesota Zoo, Lee Ehmke, will serve for two years as president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The group includes 300 members from leading institutions around the world and others with a stake in their work. Ehmke succeeds the director of the zoo in the German city of Leipzig.
The association has a particular concern with issues of global conservation and endangered animal breeding programs, areas in which the Minnesota Zoo has traditionally been strong.
Ehmke arrived at the Apple Valley zoo in 2000 after having designed one of the most celebrated exhibits in the nation at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.
In the United States, he has been in charge of deciding which new zoo exhibits are honored by a national group, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an important source of professional recognition.