Don Moore is a zoo-based animal behaviorist, wildlife biologist, and educator who has helped to renovate and manage several zoos in Olmsted parks across the United States, to train the next generation of conservation biologists, and to create conservation management plans for wild animals in nature, for over 30 years.
Moore currently leads Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Animal Care Sciences team of veterinarians, curators, keepers, nutritionists and animal behavior professionals, providing excellence in animal care and wellbeing for the zoo’s priceless living collection. He previously worked for Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New York for ten years as a curator, zoo director, and co-chair of the Animal Enrichment Program prior to joining the Smithsonian Institution. While in New York, he served on the “One-WCS” science management team, helped develop the interactive “Animals In Art” exhibit in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Zoo, as well as the designs for a variety of big cat habitats including the Central Park Zoo snow leopard exhibit (opened 2009), and served on the board of the “Heart of Brooklyn” cultural institutions’ alliance.
Moore has done field research on endangered Pampas deer and other mammals in both South America and North America, has participated in reintroductions of red wolves and other carnivores in the US and in amphibian/reptile atlasing projects in North America, has performed research on the behavior of bears, frogs and a variety of other species in zoos and aquariums, and has assisted with research on visitor behavior toward natural history exhibits and interpretation. He has led professional training workshops in a variety of countries including Uruguay, Spain, Peru, Malaysia, and Argentina. Moore has published and co-authored more than four dozen papers or manuals on animal husbandry and behavior and has served as a peer reviewer for scientific journals including the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. He is interested in helping advance the education of zookeepers and other zoo professionals, has been an adjunct professor at several colleges, helped to start the AZA Professional Development course “Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs” with Jill Mellen, David Shepherdson, and others, and helped to start the Animal Behavior and Conservation (“ABC focus”) graduate program at Hunter College (City University of New York) with Diana Reiss, Sheila Chase and other CUNY faculty.
Moore is very interested in behavioral enrichment science and husbandry science for wild animals in human care, and safe work practices and exhibit design in zoos and aquariums. He is a volunteer for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) as an AZA Accreditation Commission member (vice-chair 2011, chair 2012), past chair of the Bear Taxon Advisory Group (Bear TAG, currently animal welfare advisor), past-vice-chair of the AZA Animal Welfare Committee (current advisor), and past chair of the AZA “Animal Care Manuals” working group. He is interested in educational solutions for human-wildlife conflict in wild habitats, and is also active as a voluntary technical expert for the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, Polar Bears International, and served as a professional volunteer for a multi-institutional research project on conservation stakeholder attitudes and conservation behavior (“Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter”).
Moore has received national and local awards for excellence in interpretation of natural history and wildlife behavior, and is passionate about climate change and actions students and others can take to help reduce global warming so that polar bears and other Arctic animals can survive for future generations. He appears as a guest scientist in Scholastic’s “Chill Out: Hot and Cold Critters” (2007), as well as in “Adventures of Riley: Polar Bear Puzzle” (2007) by Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz (proceeds from sales of the “Adventures of Riley” series benefit Smithsonian Institution and Wildlife Conservation Society). Moore was recently a contributor for the popular natural history book “Tug Hill: A Four Season Guide” (1999, second edition 2008) and is the author of “Disney’s Wonderful World of Animals” (2006) for children ages six through 12. He has been an expert reader for a number of children’s books published by Scholastic, Readers Digest, and other publishers, and continues to offer public educational programs in conjunction with book-signings. During his many activities educating zoo and park visitors, Moore has become interested in regional tourism and how zoos and natural parks can contribute to ecotourism, and has contributed guest-attraction articles to popular tourism magazines including Seaway Trails.
Moore has a PhD from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School (1990), and received his Bachelors from SUNY/ESF (Class of 1976). His PhD dissertation topic was on the ecology, behavior and conservation of the endangered Pampas deer in Uruguay, South America.
Foerder, P, M Galloway, T Barthel, DE Moore and D Reiss. 2011. Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23251. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023251
Moore, D. 2010 (Invited presenter). “The role of zoos in enhancing Animal Welfare”, and “The role of Science in modern zoo management”, Temaiken regional animal welfare workshop, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (120+ professionals representing 6 countries in South America).
Plotnik, J.M., F.B.M de Wall, D Moore III, and D. Reiss. 2009. Self-recognition in the Asian elephant and future directions for cognitive research with elephants in zoo settings. Zoo Biology 28:1-13.