Brandie Smith is Senior Curator for Mammal Husbandry Sciences, Animal Welfare, and Animal Husbandry Research. In this role, Brandie oversees the care, management, and research for the mammal collection at the national zoo. This includes Asia Trail, Cheetah Conservation Station, Asian elephants, Small Mammal House, primates, great cats, and Kids Farm. She is also directly responsible for husbandry and management of giant pandas. In addition to her work at the National Zoo, Brandie is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Small Population Management Advisory Group, the AZA Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP)/Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) Steering Committee, and the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG).
Brandie joined the National Zoo’s Animal Care staff in 2008. She came to the zoo after ten years at the AZA, where she was Vice President of Animal Conservation, and responsible for facilitating, promoting, and supporting the cooperative conservation and scientific activities of AZA’s more than 200 member institutions and almost 1,000 animal programs. She has written many articles and book chapters on how zoos and aquariums can plan and manage their animal collections, and has also served as an advisor for a number of children’s books on animals and zoos.
Brandie’s research background is in population genetics. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, focusing her research on how to manage large groups of animals—those that live in herds, flocks, and tanks and where breeding pairs and even individuals are difficult to identify and control. Her hope is that her research will help increase sustainability of both zoo and wild populations that are in need of management but are currently considered to be unmanageable.