The news came as a surprise to many: after only three years, zoo director Miguel Casares will leave Frankfurt Zoo at his own request at the end of June. The native Spaniard will return to his family in his home country for personal reasons. Casares has been in charge of Frankfurt's popular cultural institution since February 2018. Before that, he was head of the zoo's science department and deputy zoo director.
Director of Cultural Affairs Hartwig has received the news with great regret: "Miguel Casares has significantly advanced the Frankfurt Zoo in terms of content and structure over the past three years and presented a convincing plan for the further development of our inner-city zoo with the concept study ZOOKUNFT2030+. This goes far beyond purely structural planning and presents ideas for a fundamental and contemporary reorientation towards an international centre for nature and species conservation. It is thanks to him and his team that Frankfurt Zoo is solidly positioned for the future, even in these times. I am extremely sorry that Dr. Casares will be leaving us and wish him only the best for his future career. For the Zoo, for Frankfurt, his departure is a great loss."
During his time as director, Casares was able to set quite a course beyond the concept study. A particular concern of his was the consolidation of the zoo's nature conservation profile and the cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society in particular. With the introduction of the voluntary nature conservation euro in March, he and the Department of Culture laid a forward-looking foundation for the Zoo's in-situ nature conservation work. He was also instrumental in driving the decision to locate the Frankfurt Conservation Center on the zoo grounds.
Even in the final months of the pandemic, Miguel Casares navigated the zoo through difficult waters. The safety of the staff, the visitors and last but not least the zoo animals was always his top priority.
"Leaving the Frankfurt Zoo and my team is certainly one of the hardest decisions I had to make in my life. But with all my dedication to my work here - for personal reasons my path now leads me back to my home country, where I will work for the Bioparc in Valencia. I wish all those who have accompanied me here in Frankfurt over the past few years all the very best. My thanks go to the head of department, all employees, colleagues, partners and supporters of the zoo."