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Man who helped start Santa Barbara Zoo dies

Santa Barbara Zoo
Santa Barbara Zoo's first employee, and its longtime leader Ted McToldridge has died at the age of 92.

Ted McToldridge helped oversee the zoo's growth for more than three decades, helping it become internationally known and respected.

The man who helped create the largest zoo in the Tri-Counties has died. He was a local contractor in Santa Barbara County. But, Ted McToldridge became the first employee of the Santa Barbara Zoo.

He was hired in 1964 as Park Superintendent, a title later changed to Zoo Director. In the early days, he built some of the zoo’s facilities, helped maintain the zoo’s grounds, and even helped care for the animals.

McToldrige’s vision helped the zoo grow over the years. He headed it for more than 30 years before retiring in 1997.

The 30 acre zoo now has more than 500 animals, and is internationally known for its work in animal conservation programs.

There’s no word yet on plans for memorial services. Ted McToldridge was 92 years old.