Rich leaving I.F. zoo for bigger job

Beth Rich, superintendent at the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park, is resigning to take a position at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Milwaukee. In this photo Rich holds a pair of snow leopards that were born last month at the zoo.

Beth Rich is resigning from her job as superintendent at the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park to take a position at a zoo in Milwaukee.

Rich said her time at the Idaho Falls Zoo helped her career and one of the things she’ll remember most from her experience here is the cuteness of the zoo babies.

“Last year, when we had our first baby penguin from a pair that hadn’t bred before, that was just so wonderful,” Rich said. “Baby anything is always a highlight.”

Rich started with the zoo in 2009 as curator. In 2010, she was promoted to superintendent. Her last day in that role is July 18. Rich has accepted the position of director of animal care and health at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She starts her new position Aug. 4.

“I used to live in Milwaukee and am familiar with the zoo,” Rich said. “I have a lot of friends there.

“I will miss everybody here terribly, but I am looking forward to a new challenge.”

Rich said her new job will focus solely on the health and care of animals rather than day-to-day operations of the zoo, which excites her.

Rich said she will be supervising a diverse group of species, some of which she hasn’t worked with before.

Rich’s last task in Idaho Falls will be overseeing the application process for accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo has been accredited since 1998 and goes through the reapplication process every five years.

“They look at everything in your organization from top to bottom,” Rich said. “There are over 1,500 zoos open to the public in the U.S. Only 230 to 240 at any given time are accredited. They have incredibly high standards.”

Rich said one of her requirements in taking a new position was to be able to oversee the application process before she leaves. The process takes place toward the end of June.

“Rich will be missed, and we wish her the best in her new endeavor,” said Mayor Rebecca Casper in a city news release. “Our zoo has flourished because of her passion and her leadership. The zoo is now poised to attract applicants with solid experience and training.”

The annual salary for the zoo superintendent is $61,089.