By Hank Tester

MIAMI(CBSMiami) – Will Elgar, the new Director of Zoo Miami, is described as passionate about wildlife conservation.

Elgar has been tasked with taking the zoo to the next level and increasing conservation awareness, not only there but throughout the Miami-Dade park system as well.

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Since re-opening, people have returned to the zoo in earnest.

“The attendance at the zoo has been incredible really, near record highs considering it is at 50 percent capacity,” said Elgar.

The newly appointed director is no stranger to the zoo world.

“I grew up in the United Kingdom and got to travel globally. I have been working in the zoo world for 20 years,” he said.

His most recent post was the Director of Zoological Operations at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta where he managed all the aquarium’s animal operations staff, budget, and exhibits.

In addition to a new director, Zoo Miami also has a new attraction – the Marc and Robin Osheroff Family Conservation Action Center located in the heart of the park.

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According to zoo officials “the conservation action center is the public face of the zoo’s research and conservation efforts and allows for guests to explore and learn about how conservation connects us all.”

The hope is to make an emotional connection to what is happening to nature and wildlife, both around the world and in the zoo-goers own backyard.

“They learn how the many conservation projects are supported by Zoo Miami around the globe and why conservation has no boundaries,” said Ron Magill, Zoo Miami’s Communications Director.

Don’t be surprised if that conservation message shows up in all of Miami-Dade’s parks.

“There is so much opportunity to merge all the parks of Maimi-Dade with Zoo Miami. Our education messages and interactions in all the parks, all around Zoo Miami,” said Elgar.

Elgar said they are currently reviewing their master plan so they can bring the zoo to the next level.

”That’s one of my major goals. In the next five years, revisit that plan and bring Zoo Miami to a global platform, in a global setting as it deserves to be,” said Elgar.

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Elgar added that Zoo Miami is “almost there” as a world-class zoo, which is fitting for an international city such as Miami.