ASHEBORO, NC – North Carolina Zoo Director Pat Simmons has been globally elected as one of three North American delegates to the prestigious World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, known as WAZA. The other two North American delegates are from the United States and Canada. All were elected by worldwide vote.

WAZA has nearly 400 member institutions in over 50 countries and works to guide and encourage zoos and aquariums around the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation. The select oversight group of delegates, known as WAZA Council, for which Simmons has been elected, consists of representatives from North and South America, Europe, Asia Australia and Africa.  

“I can’t think of anyone who is more qualified to represent North America’s zoos and aquariums than Pat Simmons,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which oversees the zoo. “Her background, experience, and professionalism will be a tremendous asset to the organization and her appointment is an outstanding honor for North Carolina.”

Simmons will attend the WAZA Council meeting on October 15 in Berlin, Germany prior to the 72nd WAZA Annual Conference. 

About the North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo provides an experience like no other zoo anywhere. With five miles of exhibits, nearly 1,600 animals and 52,000 plants it is the largest natural habitat zoo in the world and an international leader in wildlife conservation.

Find yourself surrounded by some of Africa’s giants including elephants, rhinos, and giraffes; share the love of gorillas with Mosuba and his six-member troop; watch polar bears Nikita and Anana take polar plunges every day at their Rocky Coast Exhibit; or join in the fun at the mud café in the Kidzone.

Located in the center of the state in Asheboro, it is convenient to visit from anywhere in North Carolina and surrounding states. The North Carolina Zoo welcomes over 850,000 guests each year. Plan your adventure at


About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The North Carolina Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C.  Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit