Fresno Chaffee Zoo: Who is Chaffee?

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno’s zoo was formerly known as the Fresno Zoo from 1929 to 1990. Since then it has come to be known as the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

But who, or what, is Chaffee?

According to the zoo, in 1990 the Fresno Zoo was renamed the Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno to honor the zoo’s former director Dr. Paul S. Chaffee. Dr. Chaffee passed away in 1990 and first became director of the zoo in 1965. Chaffee was the facility’s first director of what was then known as the Roeding Park Zoo.

Before Chaffee, most of his responsibilities were handled by the Fresno Zoological Society.

Chaffee’s time as director brought with it nutritional, quarantine, and educational programs at the zoo. In 1990, the Fresno City Council approved the resolution to name the Zoo after Chaffee and praised many of his achievements:

Dr. Paul Chaffee has made an outstanding, long-term contribution to the City of Fresno through his achievments at the Fresno Zoo, including but not limited to the elephant grotto, the rain forest exhibit, the nationally renowned reptile house, and exquisite landscaping for the grounds of the zoo.

Resolution NO. 90-308 by the Council of the City of Fresno

Though Dr. Paul Chaffee’s name may not be immediately recognized, many in Fresno will likely recognize his work and his impact on Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

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