Ashli Sims and Staff Reports, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa Zoo has a new CEO. Current Zoo director Terrie Correll was appointed to the job by Tulsa Zoo Management Inc.

TZMI manages the Tulsa Zoo as part of a public-private partnership with the City of Tulsa. The Tulsa Zoo was privatized on January 1, 2011.

Former zoo director Terrie Correll has been in charge here for the last 2 1/2 years. She was at the helm when two giraffes died and the zoo almost lost its accreditation.

The TZMI board says she's also been instrumental in the process to privatize the zoo, which was re-accredited last month.

"The ability to see what this zoo can become and I'm looking forward to taking the zoo to the next level," Correll said.

Correll says the climb to the next level is already happening. The chronically under-funded and under-staffed facility has seen its budget increase by 30 percent under TZMI, and 17 jobs have been added with plans for 9 more.

Some changes are behind the scenes, but other upgrades like those at the Conservation Center are more visible.

The Tulsa Zoo is playing catch up right now, fixing areas that have been neglected for years. CEO Terrie Correll says a soon-to-be released master plan will detail new, modern exhibits to come. For now, the newly renovated sea lion cove is set to open next spring.