Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Community Lecture Series at SCBI

Co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation


An Overview of Rabies in Virginia
Rabies is a centuries-old disease. The first written record of rabies comes from the Eshnunna code in the 23rd century, BC. Records suggest the existence of rabies in the United States from the mid-1700s. During the first half of the 20th century, canine rabies was found throughout the US. Vaccination campaigns, and animal control measures, have successfully eliminated the canine variant of the rabies virus from the US. Wildlife is now recognized as the reservoir of rabies in this country. Virginia State Public Health Veterinarian, Julia Murphy, assists with the implementation of the Commonwealth’s rabies laws and response to rabies exposures. Details concerning Virginia’s rabies epidemiology as well as the Commonwealth’s public health role in rabies prevention and control will be discussed.


BSI: Birdstrike Identification at the Smithsonian
The Smithsonian Institution’s Feather Identification Lab is located in the Division of Birds and is responsible for the identification of bird 'snarge' or minute evidence (such as tissue and feathers) from bird aircraft collisions/bird strikes. The Feather Lab has interagency agreements with the US Air Force, US Navy, and FAA to identify bird strikes and processes about 8,000 cases a year using DNA barcoding and the comprehensive bird collections at NMNH. Jim Whatton, SI Research Assistant, will discuss the bird strike identification process, highlighting examples using whole feathers, DNA barcoding, and feather microstructure.


The Secret Lives of Rhinos of Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
The black rhinoceros (rhino) is an elusive creature that captivates many people as a charismatic reminder of prehistoric times, and in recent years, as an iconic species for conservation efforts. Habitat destruction and poaching nearly drove black rhinos to extinction in the 1990s. Although they are slowly repopulating their historical range, poaching rates have drastically increased in the past five years. Because rhinos are slow breeders, it is difficult to combat the high rates of poaching, and thus even more important to understand the factors that naturally affect population growth. Elizabeth Freeman, Assistant Professor of Conservation at George Mason University and SCBI Research Associate, will discuss a study monitoring the health, physiology and genetics of a reintroduced population of the southwestern black rhino subspecies (Diceros bicornis bicornis) in Addo Elephant National Park (AENP), South Africa. The knowledge they have gained can help improve the conservation and management of the black rhinos.


Satellites and Tracking Devices: How to Spy on Endangered Species
Endangered species are notoriously difficult to study close up, because they are rare, hard to find, and often dangerous. As a consequence scientists know surprisingly little about the behavior, ecology and biology of even the most charismatic species. In 2013, SCBI launched Partners in the Sky, a new and innovative private-public partnership between the Smithsonian and industry partners that leverages resources and expertise to develop new tracking technologies and increase access to satellite data and technology. SCBI scientist, Peter Leimgruber, will discuss how these technologies can be used to study and save endangered species, such as Asian elephants and Przewalski’s horses.


Hop on Pop: Male Infant Care in the Andean Titi Monkey of Peru
Three endemic primate species make their home in the steep gorges of the mist-filled tropical Andean cloud forests in northeastern Peru. In this talk, Dr. Anneke DeLuycker will discuss her research on one of these primates, the little-understood Andean titi monkey. Unusual for mammals, titi monkey males perform most of the offspring care including the carrying of infants. Her research has provided new insights regarding strong paternal care in a primate species. She will also show incredible video footage of a titi monkey birth event in the wild, the first known footage of its kind.


Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.

The series is free and open to the public.
Seating is limited, so arrive early.


Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) Dining Hall
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, VA 22630

From the east:

  • Take I-66 west to the Linden/Front Royal exit #13
  • At end of ramp, turn left, under freeway to stoplight at Route 55
  • Turn right (west) on Route 55 and travel five miles into Front Royal
  • Turn left at signal, Route 522/Remount Road
  • Drive approximately 2 miles and take a left into Gate 2 and follow event parking signs

From Rappahannock:

  • From US 211 take 522 north ~ 12 miles
  • Turn right into Gate 2 and follow event parking signs

For More Information

Contact the SCBI/FONZ Education Office by calling: (540) 635-6540
Contact the SCBI/FONZ Education Office by e-mail: SCBIeducation@si.edu