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  • Heart of the Zoo: How San Diego Zoo Director Chuck Bieler Earned His Stripes

    This book tells the extraordinary story of how Chuck Bieler "earned his stripes" at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. With inside stories and humorous details, it captures his tireless efforts to help create an international conservation organization where all wildlife thrives.

    In the 1970s, a new era of zoos dawned as the world became aware of the challenges facing wildlife. To help save shrinking habitats and endangered wildlife populations, zoos had to evolve from their role as living museums to centers of conservation. At the forefront of this seismic shift stood an unlikely hero: Chuck Bieler.


    As executive director emeritus of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Chuck Bieler guided the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park through unprecedented challenges–notably, with the support of his beloved wife, Judy.

    During his five-decade tenure, Chuck built connections with the local community and his Zoo family, cemented relationships with important donors, championed science and research, and established international partnerships that ultimately brought wildlife like koalas and giant pandas to San Diego.

    Written by Kathi Diamant

     See what our readers have to say... 

    “I finished the Heart of the Zoo book within three hours of receiving it. Of the hundreds of books on zoos I've read, this is easily the most thorough, insightful, and powerful one. The author eloquently captured the spirit of the time as well as the drive of Chuck Bieler and his peers in helping our zoo profession go in a new direction.”Grayson Ponti, Conservation Interpreter, Dallas Zoo, and Zoo Historian

    “This splendid story is a rollicking history of power and change and fortunate happenstance in our ever-so-lucky city.”Judith Morgan, journalist, and author, "Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography"

    See our other Nonfiction Nature Books!