ABILENE, Texas β€” The City of Abilene announced Tuesday that it has a new director for the Abilene Zoological Gardens. Jesse Pottebaum is headed from Austin to  Abilene, having served as deputy director of the Austin Zoo.

According to a press release from the City, Pottebaum has more than 20 years of experience in the zoological field. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biological research from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and started his career with SeaWorld San Antonio, working with orca whales.

He then spent 15 years at SeaWorld Florida as its curator of animal training.  

Pottenbaum will begin work at the Abilene Zoo May 28.

β€œIn our extensive search to find the next Director of the Abilene Zoo, we held certain attributes to be qualifiers for our candidates. These attributes include integrity, professionalism, leadership, and enthusiasm. Mr. Pottebaum impressed upon the hiring committee all of these traits, and more,” Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna said in the release.