SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Paul A. Baribault, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, was Thursday named chairman of the Jane Goodall Institute's board of directors.
He had previously served as the conservation organization's vice chairman of the board. As chairman, he said he will continue to serve and support Executive Director Anna Rathmann.
"Jane has been an inspiration to me in ways I will never quite be able to put into words," Baribault said.
"From the minute we met back in 2011, I had no idea the journey our meeting would put me on, and I am still amazed to this day to be able to consider her a dear friend.
"It has been an honor to serve on her board and incredibly humbling to be asked to become her chair," he said.
"Jane's vision of hope is a powerful call to action for all of us to be of service to the planet and inspire the next generation in any way each of us can."
Over the last six decades, the Jane Goodall Institute has become known internationally for primate conservation, establishing and maintaining the longest-running study of wild chimpanzees.
Through her work in Gombe, Tanzania, Goodall was able to shed light on the importance of conserving the species -- which has declined from an estimated population of 1 million in 1900 to as few as 340,000 Thursday.
"I am pleased to celebrate my dear friend Paul Baribault as the new chair of the board for the Jane Goodall Institute," Goodall said.
"As the leader of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, one of the top conservation organizations globally, Paul has a valuable perspective on the powerful and unique role zoos play in global conservation.
"Paul understands what great conservation outcomes look like and brings an aspirational vision to help organizations reach their true potential as we all work together to improve the lives of people, animals, and the environment," she said.
Baribault is also a member of the executive committee of Jackson Wild, a conservation summit and wildlife film festival, and previously was executive chair of The Aspen Institute High Seas Initiative. In his work as vice president and general manager of Disneynature, he steered the development of conservation projects tied to films, collaborating with leading nonprofits to plant millions of trees and help protect millions of acres for wildlife worldwide.