SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — A zoo in Scottsbluff is facing staff overturn troubles as two members have resigned and another has been terminated.

The Riverside Discovery Center board recently decided to let go of zoo director Peter Halliday, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald ( ) reported. Former executive director Anne James unexpectedly resigned shortly after Halliday was terminated, according to board president Martin Mickey.

“Anne’s resignation was unexpected,” Mickey said. “She was with the organization for over 26 years and we appreciate everything she did. We wish her the best.”

The board is currently searching for a new executive director.

Education Curator Amber Schiltz also left in July to take a position with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, but her position has been filled, officials said.

After the three departures, the board asked the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for assistance. Association spokesman Rob Vernon says inspectors visited the zoo to confirm there were no deficiencies that would warrant a change in accreditation status.

Vernon said it’s normal for his organization to be in touch with a facility whenever there is a leadership change and will be as helpful as possible. The time frame for a new executive director can’t be pinned down, but it often creates a domino effect throughout the country.

“There are only 216 accredited facilities in the U.S.,” he said. “The spots, when they open, are sought after. As these spots open up, people tend to move up and take on a more director type role.”

Mickey praised the staff for how well they have banded together to take care of tasks until a new executive director is found.

Information from: Star-Herald,

VIAThe Associated Press
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.