Dr. Lester E. Fisher was hired as Lincoln Park zoo’s first veterinarian in 1947 working under the directorship of the famous Marlin Perkins. Perkins became a friend and the two worked well together. Each respecting the others talents and role.
In 1962 Marlin left to go to St. Louis, Lester was named director, beginning a 30-year tenure that transformed the zoo. Dr. Fisher introduced a new emphasis on education and conservation while remaking zoo grounds to meet modern expectations for animal comfort and care. He had a fondness for gorillas and created the finest collection of endangered great apes in the world. Lincoln Park has the largest collection of gorillas in the world. And a milestone 20 gorillas have been born in the Great Ape House, in addition to nearly as many chimpanzees and six orangutans. Dr. Fisher retired in 1992.