Elmwood Park Zoo loses longtime animal curator

- Elmwood Park Zoo mourning the loss of its animal curator for the past 12 years. It announced David Wood died last Wednesday due to complications from dermatomyositis. He was 61.

Wood’s zoological career spanned over 40 years. He began as a keeper at the Philadelphia Zoo in 1973 and later became the zoo’s large mammals curator.

At the Philadelphia Zoo, he was the first person to breed naked mole rats on exhibit. He did it while playing rock radio station 93.3 WMMR at all hours to desensitize the mole rats to noise and vibrations.

Wood made numerous appearances with the famous white lions of Timbavati he brought to Philadelphia, and was on TV with friend Jack Hanna, as well as David Letterman.

He left Philadelphia in 1996 for West Palm Beach, Florida, and then Roanoke, Virginia, but returned to our area at the Elmwood Park Zoo in 2005.

There, he oversaw the expansion of the zoo’s animal collection, shifting its focus from primarily North and South American animals to animals ranging from all over the globe. In 2013, he brought giraffes to the zoo for the first time ever, which led to an immediate surge in the zoo’s attendance and popularity.

He also brought the Elmwood Park Zoo’s education ambassador bald eagle “Noah” to all of the Philadelphia Eagles’ home games for the past three years.

The family respectfully requests any memorial donations be made to the Elmwood Park Zoo: Development Department, 1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown PA 19401.

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