From animal keeper to zoo director, J. D. (Doug) Porter’s career spanned over forty years. It included positions with a half dozen of America’s great zoos during the most transformational era in zookeeping in more than a century—a time when zoos went from 19th century menageries to modern day arks.
A chance visit to the Atlanta Zoo in the 1970s launched a career that began at Busch Gardens and continued during the construction of a massive new zoo in Toronto. Porter oversaw the animal collection at the Louisville Zoo, directed the redevelopment of the Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, and served as deputy director of the Toledo Zoo during its centennial years.
From elephants to apes and belugas to bears, he learned valuable lessons from the countless animals he encountered. Rhinos helped him realize that he will never be too old to learn, and a dog named Joy taught him how to seize the day. But what is the greatest lesson of all? Find out in Lessons from the Zoo. Animals have much to teach us if we will take the time to listen.