“Mister Zoo” Retires
After the tremendous success of building and launching the Wild Animal Park, Dr. Schroeder retired a few months later. He had served as director for 19 years, and worked at the Zoo for a total of 26 years. More than 700 people packed into the Town and Country Convention Center for a farewell celebration in January 1973, to honor the man who had become known worldwide as “Mister Zoo.” However, the staff and his many friends and associates said that he never really retired, since he continued to stay in touch with and promote the Zoo and the Park. As one friend said, “They might take Charlie out of the Zoo, but they could never take the Zoo out of Charlie.” Among other projects, Charlie flew around the world as a zoo consultant and headed up a committee to work on the Endangered Species Act in 1974. But when he was in town, he was enjoying the “Park that Charlie built” and continued to visit regularly for the rest of his life.