BOISE -- Steve Burns, the longtime director of Zoo Boise, is stepping down after 20 years on the job.

Zoo Boise announced Tuesday that Burns had accepted a position with the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The news of his impending departure was "bittersweet," zoo officials said.

"Steve Burns has helped transform Zoo Boise into the state-of-the-art zoo it is today," Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said. "We are sad to see him go, but will continue to promote the educational and conservation missions Steve has worked to develop and champion here in the Boise Valley and beyond. We wish him the best of luck in the future."

MORE: Zoo Boise launches 'Zoo with a New View' campaign

Burns has long touted the importance of conservation, and was the driving force behind Zoo Boise's recent Zoo with a New View Capital Campaign, which raised $8.9 million. The money will toward building a 2.5 acre Gorongosa National Park Exhibit at Zoo Boise. A percent of the money will also go toward helping restore habitat and wildlife in Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park.

Burns also served as the Executive Director of Friends of Zoo Boise.

The city is beginning a nationwide search for the next zoo director.