Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Friday that the city hired Jeffrey Mahon as the new Honolulu Zoo director.
Mahon started work at the Honolulu Zoo Friday morning.
Mahon graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology, with a concentration in Behavioral Ecology from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.
He has served at various underwater facilities and aquariums around the world, most recently at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center as the Director of Exhibits and Animal Husbandry.
"We are very fortunate to welcome Dr. Mahon back to Hawaii," said Mayor Caldwell. "Dr. Mahon's background in developing world-class exhibits and creating new programs that will reach out to a wider audience of residents, students and visitors is very exciting for the future of the Zoo."
Prior to his work in Virginia, Mahon was a curatorial director and responsible for four facilities in Asia including Underwater World Singapore and Dolphin Lagoon in Singapore, Underwater World Pattaya in Thailand, and Chengdu Hawpar Oceanarium in China. He also served as the general curator and facilities manager of Underwater World Guam.
Mahon's military experience includes serving in the U.S. Navy on the nuclear submarine USS Buffalo and as a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, retiring in 2008.
Mahon produced several popular exhibits that drew international acclaim and significantly increased visitor-ship. These include the following:
- RFID Exhibit – The world’s first exhibit where fish are detected in the tank using implanted chips
- Chinese New Year Exhibits – Year of the Rat featured Ratfish inside a Chinese Zodiac Roulette wheel, Year of the Pig featured Pig-nosed Turtles inside a huge Yuan Bao display, Year of the Dragon featured five unique dragon species (Dragon Morays, Sea Dragons, Water Dragons, Dragon Wrasses, and Dragonettes
- Amazon Display – Featured unique animals of the Amazon including Poison Dart Frogs
- Sand Tiger Shark Exhibit – World’s largest display of these iconic sharks
- Dive with the Sharks program
- Yellow-crowned Butterflyfish display – Only one on earth. Rare and treasured fish that is only found below 200 feet in Guam. Dr. Mahon personally caught these fish using an electronic rebreather