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Hollie Colahan



Current position: 

Vice President of Living Connections

Current facility:

Birmingham Zoo

Year zoo career began:


Hollie is the Vice President of Living Collections at the Birmingham Zoo where she oversees the animal collection and the staff that cares for them every day. These days, most Hollie’s day is occupied with meetings, but she also gets out occasionally into the zoo to interact with animals. She is responsible for collection planning, exhibit design, staff development, and animal husbandry policies and procedures. She also partners with other departments in the zoo such as Animal Health and Nutrition, Education, Development, Maintenance, and Events. Hollie is also a member of the zoo’s Senior Team, which provides the strategic direction of the zoo. Hollie has been active in the AZA serving on the Professional Development and Animal Population Management Committees, serving as an instructor in AZA courses, and as the SSP Coordinator for Lions and Program Leader for African Lion SAFE.

Hollie’s zoo career began at the Sunset Zoo where she started as an unpaid volunteer before becoming an intern and a keeper. Hollie has worked as a keeper at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She was promoted to Primate Zoological Manager at Disney and then left to be the Curator of Primates and Carnivores at the Houston Zoo. Hollie became the Curator of Large Mammals and later the Vice President of Animal Care at the Denver Zoo before moving to her current position in 2020. Hollie has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Kansas State University and a Master of Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University.

Hollie loves the variety of things she gets to do in her job every day, and she has also had some amazing opportunities to travel around the US and the world. Hollie’s advice to aspiring zoo professionals is to be open to opportunities, even if they are not exactly what you are looking for. Hollie has found that every time she tried something new, she enjoyed in more than she expected to. Even if you don’t love it, the opportunity will be an experience to put on your resume that will open more doors in the future. Hollie is passionate about removing barriers in our profession and creating more inclusive workplaces. She believes in pushing for change and continues improvement from within even when (or especially when) it makes us uncomfortable. She is here to listen, to learn, and do whatever she can to help.

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