The Victorian Government has announced the appointment of four new members to the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board.

State Minister for the Environment, Ryan Smith, said that he was particularly pleased to welcome the appointment of new Chairperson Ann Ward, with two new members, Natasha Bowness and Sahil Merchant as well as the reappointment of Helen Thorton.

“The Zoological Parks and Gardens Board has an important role in directing and overseeing efforts to improve the visitor experience, promote the Melbourne Zoos and provide advice on related issues,” Mr Smith said.

“It is an exciting time to be involved with Zoos Victoria. Our Zoos are much loved by locals and visitors alike, with more than 300 species of animals visited by almost 2 million people each year.”

The role of the Zoos Board includes overseeing the conservation, protection and management of three zoos: Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Zoo.

Mr Smith said the new Chairperson and new Board Members had been chosen for their skills and experience in leadership, management and governance.

“Ms Ward has strong skills in public sector management, negotiations, governance and risk management. I look forward to working with her to continue to drive the conservation agenda and provide a great experience for visitors to the Zoos,” Mr Smith said.