San Diego Zoo Global
Dr. Ron Swaisgood serves San Diego Zoo Global as the Brown Endowed Director of Recovery Ecology. He also heads the Giant Panda Conservation Unit and is the General Scientific Director of Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manu National Park in the Peruvian Amazon. Swaisgood earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis. His work focuses on the conservation of species in their native habitats, with an emphasis on reintroduction and translocation programs. He oversees conservation programs for species such as California condors, burrowing owls, terns, plovers, desert tortoises, mountain yellow-legged frogs, giant pandas, Andean bears, and kangaroo rats. He has served as an adjunct professor at University of California at Los Angles, San Diego State University, and the Chinese Academy of Science. He is active on several national and international conservation committees and chairs the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Giant Panda Expert Team. As an advocate for reconnecting children to nature, he has served on committees for the Children & Nature Network and San Diego Children & Nature Collaborative, and is co-founder of the Family Adventures in Nature Club. He is a passionate advocate on the need for “hope” in conservation and has published essays in scholarly journals and the popular press addressing conservation despair. While acknowledging that we are facing unprecedented environmental challenges, he believes the best response is a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work form of hope that catalyzes conservation action.
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